Friday, 15 April 2011

Our Last Night in the Philippines.

At our nightly devotions with the children

Tomorrow we will be leaving Manila and returning to Singapore after an eventful week. We accomplished so much on this trip, and I feel like we really made an impact on the community. Not only that, but the community impacted us as well. Looking back to the beginning of the week, my attitude towards this experience has changed so much. At first, I wasn't very excited about coming on this trip, but now I'm so glad I did. This has been such a rewarding experience for me and I have definitely felt God working in me throughout this week. I have gained so much from this trip, not only from all of the work we have done in the community, but also from interacting with others. One thing I have learned this week is tolerance. There have been many times when I had to do things that I didn't want to do, but God has helped me to put others before myself and do what I need to do whether I like it or not. Being with the same group of people all day every day for a whole week can get very tiring. I realized how easy it is to become irritated with people after spending so much time with them, but I learned to put tolerance into practice and not lose my cool. In order to effectively get a job done, you have to be able to work as a team, and teamwork means tolerating each other. You also have to have respect for each other and authority. At the beginning of this trip I didn't know everyone that well, but now I have so much respect for everyone after working with them and spending so much time with them. This trip has shown me that God can work through anyone. It's amazing how much presense God has in this community among so much poverty. It has really inspired me to see how strong people's faith can remain in the midst of hardship. I have met so many amazing people this week that have really impacted me in a positive way and have helped me to strengthen my relationship with God. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity to come to the Philippines and it has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

Seeing Manilla Through Andrew's Eyes(Day 6)

The day started out with the same routine. Shovel sand here. Make cement there. Take out nails here. Until it was 11:30 and the routine was thrown out the window. It was time for Daranak Falls, which is a place where it features a 40 to 35 foot waterfall and blue as the sky water. We all packed our towels and brought many kids with us. As we arrived and walked a little through the jungle, the immense waterfall unfolded unto our eyes and smiles were popping up like popcorn. While many kids eased themselves into the water, I jumped off the side where the cool water revitalized me after the work in the morning. Although many kids soon succumbed to the chilly water and sat out, there were tons others enjoying it. Many did the following: eat their favorite snack( mine is cheezewhiz and ritz. I have a weakness for cheese spread), jump into the water off a little cliff on the waterfall, and chill under the sun. The kids told me how much they enjoyed it, and overall, it was a much needed break from routine.

Taylor's Take on Day 8: A Lasting Impact

This same time last year, two week without walls groups came to Manila, Philippines, to the same place we are at now. During that time, one of their major projects was helping to build a house for a woman named Laling. When they left at the end of that week, the house was practically completed but there were a few things that had yet to be "polished up". This year, a few of the same students from last year came back to Manila and were able to go and see Laling's finished house just last Wednesday. It was really cool seeing the finished product of what we had started a year ago, and it was a nice house too. We were able to talk to Laling for some time and it was just awesome seeing how happy and appreciative she was. Not only was seeing the finished house cool, but seeing the kids we had met a year ago. Many of them still remembered us, and soon enough kids were coming out and getting reacquainted with us. While visiting Laling, we found out that her sister's house just next door needed a few finishing touches as well. The very next day we were able to go back and help them by hauling sand for the cement which would go to complete one of the house's floors. While working, memories flooded back to us as the kids swarmed around and wanted to play and even help us do our work. This was just like last year. This morning some of us were able to go back again to help haul the concrete bags and gravel, as well as mix some cement. By 11:00 they managed to pour the cement to complete the living room (/kitchen/dinning room) floor. Overall, it was just awesome to see old faces and be able to help out for an old friend. It was simply amazing to see that God used us to create a lasting impact in all of their lives.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Josie's Angels & the J Salon

Josie Long  with some of her Angels!

More of her Angel's

Josie Long is the daughter of Jeff Long, who is the founder of Kid's International Ministries. In addition to helping out with KIM, Josie runs two of her own ministries here in the Cuatro Community, called Josie's Angels and the J Salon.
Josie's Angels is a ministry for girls in the community between the ages of 8 and 16. It started about one year ago when Josie constantly had a few local girls hanging around her. She had an idea to make something out of it by starting Josie's Angels. The purpose of this ministry to is to reach out to the young girls in the community and help them to break the cycle of life that is so common to women in the Philippines. Many women never finish school and instead they get pregnant at an early age. Josie helps lead these girls to Christ and encourages them to stay in school. She holds weekly Bible studies and takes the girls on outings. In one year, Josie's Angels has grown from 9 to 53 girls. This ministry is constantly growing because the girls involved have a large influence on other girls in the community. When they see what Josie's Angels are doing, they want to be invloved. Josie's Angels also has plans to open a home for girls in the community this June. This ministry has a positive impact on the community because it is helping girls to realize that they can achieve more in life and it helps bring them to closer to God.\
The J Salon is another ministry that Josie started. Josie attended cosmetology school back in the US, but decided that she didn't want to stay there. She had a vision to use the skills she had learned to help the women in the community. One year ago, Josie started the J Salon by teaching local women what she learned in cosmetology school in order to give them skills that they can use to make money. This ministry also helps women to break their cycle of life and gives them a chance to make their own living. There are currently 6 women working in the J Salon that are all strong Christian women. It has given these women the opportunity to share their testimony with others and lead them to Christ. It also encourages other women and shows them that they too can make a living.
Please pray that God would continue to bless Josie and this ministry.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Seeing Manila Through Andrew's Eyes (Day 5)

 All of the cynder blocks that we passed up four flights of stairs.

Taylor and Thomas collecting the bricks on top of the roof.

Today we did construction! We started our day bright and early to hull cement blocks up 4 stories using a human chain, passing it along. It was tiring but I got to stay on the top which was really windy. The cement block passing was soon finished in an hour and many of us split up into different groups. Some were working on the two houses, taking out nails of the wood we had piled there. Others were bringing down wood from a building and people were taking out nails from that wood. Lastly, some helped clean and paint the balcony area to prevent it from leaking through to the salon and weight room below. Many of us worked hard to finish our jobs and I heard of many doing it in record times. Only 5 of the guys at one of the houses moved almost half of all the cement blocks earlier in the day to another place. We all had a long day of work, but we surely did do a lot today. Many of us came home with sunburns and scratches, but we all smiled when we looked at the work we had done. Overall, God gave us the strength today to do a lot, and we will surely finish quickly on both houses and balcony area. Pray for no more injuries and for us to work dilligently.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Feeding with Juheon and Tanya

Ju Heon and Tanya at the start of a house in "Tent City" 

Tanya and Sam in a completed, yet to be occupied house in "Tent City"

Ju Heon lending a helping hand to the community. 

Tanya with two girls about to take a shower at the water pump

Ju Heon and Tanya in a completed and occupied house in "Tent City" 10 people live in this house. 
We had two huge containers filled with rice chicken porridge. When we arrived and were still in the van, there were already kids lining up with their empty bowls. Most kids would bring large pitchers to get enough food for their big family. Everyone was very welcoming and even when it was apparent they did not have much, they were still very happy. There was a point where a family allowed us to enter their house and pray for them. In that community, there are about 1100 people. They were hit by a typhoon and the Philippine Red Cross and other organizations helped them settle down and have a safe home. The housing style was the same throughout and organized. Most houses were personalized, so that they would feel at home. The families would get their water supply from the hand pump, where we saw some kids taking a shower. Overall, this experience makes us realize how fortunate we are and how precious life is. Even in bad circumstances, we can still find happiness in our family, friends, and Jesus!

Kick'in Ball in Manila