To view the Impact Philippines 6 month report for the first half of 2013, please click here
This year we’re riding again for Impact Philippines in the Oct 5 Ride for Refuge. Funds raised will go to help the livelihood and education projects we are working on with our partners there. To learn more about those projects, please visit our Impact Philippines blog at http://philippines.iteams.ca/ .
Last year, just before the ride, someone came into our back yard and stole my son Daniel’s bike. Not to be deterred, Daniel, then 9 yrs old, agreed to hop on his sister’s significantly heavier bike and still tackle the 25 kms. Afterward he came to me nad said “Daddy, do you know what kept me going when I felt like giving up? One of the R4R videos talked about constantly thinking about the people you’re riding for when you start feeling tired. I thought about those kids we met in Bongalon when we were there … and that kept me going even when I felt so tired I wanted to quit.”
The latest Ride for Refuge video has just been uploaded – it’s a fun one so take a look at http://rideforrefuge.org/ridetv/ride2013_helmets .
And if you or someone you know would like to sponsor anyone on our team in order to help with livelihood and education projects in the Philippines, just click here for more information .
For several years now our family blog has doubled as our work blog. In fact, there are probably more posts here related to our work than our family life! Not that those are completely separate, but trying to cover everything on one blog makes for a rather messy and confusing web presence, to say the least.
So it’s with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the new Impact Philippines blog http://philippines.iteams.ca/. Check it out regularly for the latest regarding our work in the Philippines. We’ll keep “The Readers” site for family updates and the odd rant from Greg. No promises that it will look any neater and cleaner in the near future though – we’ll see what we can do after our vacation …
4800 servings of soup mix from Ontario Gleaners just arrived in the Philippines to help churches in Kasiglahan care for the families in their community.
When Carla Jewell arrived in Kasiglahan, a “relocation” community on the northeast edge of Metro Manila, she wanted to know what she could do to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. Henry Manuncia, the leader of Impact Philippines, told her to watch and listen to what was happening around her, as if she were “sitting under a banyan tree.” If she did this, she would not only discover the unique contribution she could make in this community, she would also learn from the people there, and she herself would grow.
Carla followed Henry’s advice and, sure enough, she found her niche. There were many young girls in the community who, although they were quick to smile and laugh, were constantly experiencing things which caused them to question their personal significance and value. So, under the coaching and mentorship of wise older women in Kasiglahan New Hope Assembly of God, Carla started a girls groups which met every Saturday afternoon and explored three core questions:
- How do I know I’m important?
- What is true beauty?
- What is authentic faith?
As the weeks went on, the girls learned from each other, from Carla, from the older women in the church, and from God. They discovered more of how they are loved and valued, and they began treating each other with greater mutual respect. Their trajectory in life has been altered.
Carla’s back in Canada now, and her friends miss her deeply. On a recent visit to Kasiglahan, Henry saw many of her friends at the church, as well as several from the surrounding community. Here’s how he describes one beautiful moment:
Later that afternoon, while I was outide the church observing the neighborhood, I saw two young girls come with their scavenging sacks on their backs stop and looked inside. Then, they hastily went their way but I greeted them as they passed in front of me. They asked me, “Is Ate (Big Sister) Carla there?” I replied that there were visitors from Canada inside, the country where Ate Carla was from. Their faces brightened up and I asked them if they wanted to come in and be introduced to the guests. They said they would love to but they were not dressed for that. I asked them if they could write Ate Carla a note and they gladly agreed and they promised to return after selling their junk. They did return and we shared some food packs with them and we introduced Laura to them …
Carla did well under her Banyan tree. Shaina who lived across the street from the church continues to attend church; Carla became her friend. The two girls, Christine Joy and Mary Grace were her friends too. Carla built relationships and touched the lives of people. She left a legacy of friendship.
Our family had a wonderful time hosting Carla Jewell over the weekend. Carla is a 21 year old woman from Dresden ON who just finished a 6 month internship with Impact Philippines. Her love and deep respect for the friends she made in Kasiglahan, the community where she served, is contagious! Although she had only a few minutes to share her story in two churches on Sunday and at the ITCA Office on Monday, it was more than evident that she has gained rich insight into the realities of life in an impoverished community, the difference that can be made when people of faith give themselves in service to others, and how much learning is possible when people of different cultures work together.
While we talked together at the end of the day, we received some emails from our ministry partner, Henry Manuncia, describing events over the past couple of days in Kasiglahan. A exceptional team of volunteers from Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church had just arrived from Canada and spent the weekend with the same church (Kasiglahan New Hope Assemblies of God) which Carla worked with (and lived in!) for 6 months. It was so fun to read the emails together with Carla, and to watch her excitement as she scrolled through the pictures Henry and his wife Lisa had taken. Here’s an excerpt:
The team’s focus was on music lessons with the youth and worship team. We bought drum skins to replace the worn out skins yesterday and Kerry, one of the team members, repaired the KNHAG drum set. We brought guitars for the lessons as well. There were 100 children expected for games and lessons and a friendly basketball game played in the afternoon. There was also a celebration at the end of the day …
KNHAG sounded like a beehive all throughout the day. During the debriefing that Lisa and I conducted, the team noticed that while they had made plans and built some expectations, they found out that some of the plans were either revised or dropped. The team learned that while plans are good to have, to be sensitive and open to how fluid the community would be was the wiser part. This was what they were going to take to their next engagement. I also commented that it made the team sensitive to each other, watchful and observant how the other would react and respond. This shaped the team early on and allowed it to respond as a group when each member is being sensitive how the others react to a new situation. As they polish this non-verbal interaction, the team spirit is silently shaped. … When asked what they saw, they were unanimous in seeing how the kids were so loving and caring for one another, how the older kids cared for the younger ones and how in this loving relationship, the team was allowed to enter and be part of it.
Carla was thrilled that this team is learning some of the same things she did by spending time with her friends in Kasiglahan. Yes, those of us who have more money and things can certainly help communities like this, but they also have an invaluable gift to offer us, if we’re willing to take the time to watch, listen, and spend time with them. I hope we’ll keep learning … and changing.
Venue: Hill Park Bible Church,
668 Upper Wentworth St.