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

Jesus Loves Me!

Singing from children at the home!

Day 5: Carley's Feeding Experience

This is Taylor Matthews handing out the food to the children during the feeding.

Children lining up to get their meal.  They would come with any container they could find.

This morning I had the opportunity to do a feeding in a local village. KIM does two feedings everyday where they go to a different village and distribute food. We brought two large containers full of food and soon as we unloaded it from the car, kids flocked to us with bowls and cups in hand. It was so awesome to see the excitement in the kid's faces when they received the food. People were literally using any container they could find to hold food. As we were driving back from the village, I noticed how there is such an extreme difference between the rich and the poor here in the Philippines. Literally right across the road from the village there was a community of nice houses in a nice neighborhood.  It's definitely not something you see everyday. It was really sad to see all these people living in poverty in the village, but it felt good doing what we could to help them.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Taylor's Take on Day 4: Basketball Tournament

Nate Harris drives to the hoop in the first game of the tournament.  We won this game by 2 points.  However, this team was the eventual tournament champions.
Yesterday morning began like any other with another more than filling breakfast. The only difference about that day was the fact that at the JCCV next door held a basketball tournament which some of us students took part in. There were six teams including ICS and five local teams. The ICS team consisted of Ian, Nate, Taylor M., Andrew K., Tanya, Ryan, Jabez, Robert, Easter, a Philopino kid named Fritz, and me. The games commenced at 9:00 and lasted all the way until 5:00 in the afternoon. Lunch was even provided for all the players. At the end of the day, ICS walked away with two wins, one loss, and the pride of third place. Ian and Nate both came up big in our games and everyone played hard. We played 110%, left it all on the court, and gave all the glory to God. The winning team received a jersey for each player and a new basketball. The coolest part of the tournament wasn't the basketball, though. It was the opportunity we had to talk with them. After the first two games the KIM director's son, Kirk Long, shared his testimony with the kids, and right before lunch Ryan Stakes and Easter were even able to share some of their testimonies. It was cool seeing everyone united under one sport. We were able to talk to the kids in between games and everyone was having a good time. Even after the tournament was over, kids were still hanging out and shooting hoops. Ian and Nate were even invited to go to someone's house to play more basketball. Overall it was just an awesome experience and it was great seeing how we impacted the lives of all the kids that came to play.

Day 4 According to Carley

Today, while most of our group was either participating in our watching the basketball tournament, I spent most of my day at the Children's Home. I went after breakfast with a few others, and as soon as we got there, kids were all over us begging to play. The kids really seem to enjoy the badminton sets that we brought more than anything. Kids were constantly begging me to play badminton with them, and after what seemed like hours, I was so sick of badminton. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm here for the kids and I'm going to have to do things that I don't want to do in order to make them happy. After a break for lunch, I went back to the home and hung out with the kids and played more badminton. Bin and I had the chance to work with the younger kids in the nursery today, which was a different experience. They were a bit more difficult to handle, but I still enjoyed it. We all went back to the home this evening for devotions, where the girls performed a dance for us that they had made up. Spending an entire day at the home with only a few other people was really tiring, but definitely rewarding. I love having the chance to bond with the kids and get to know them better. They are all so lively and fun to be around and I'm really grateful for this experience so far.

Carley Kennedy hanging out and playing with the kids at the home!

Seeing Manila through Andrew's eyes (Day 4)

Today I was given the job, before anybody, was to accompany Haeyoon Choi to the nursery at the kids' home. Before going to the nursery, I got a chance to practice on our team's baby, Baby Fleisch! Mr. Fleischmann showed me the ropes, and I successfully changed the baby's diaper with ease. We even taped it! As Haeyoon and I walked into the nursery, I was surprised to see there were not as many is I imagined and were a lot more quiet than what I thought. I was given the task to take 4 three and four year olds to the playground and to watch over them. A bond quickly formed with these kids, and I shared a special moment with a 3 year old girl named Princess. She was cute and oustanding in intellect above her peers. We found a cross on the floor and she hummed "Jesus loves me". We both quickly broke into singing when we hit the chorus and she kept up the whole time, remembering all the lyrics to the song. I felt she was far older than her age and I pray that she would use that talent of learning things so fast for the glory of God. The nursery quickly died down after I brought the kids inside and we settled down with a movie. I left, giving a special hug to Princess, and with a soft voice from God. He told me once again God is in love with each kid in this home, and He knows that I am beginning to love each and everyone one of them too. Whoever is reading this blog I ask for the following: pray for Princess, pray for God's love to break every negative bondage in their life, and pray for our teammates ( for them to open their hearts to the kids, and for the kids to help them too ).

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day 3 According to Taylor and Andrew

Taylor and I had a special opportunity to really search deeper into the culture of the Phillipines today! We were taken with a small group to go visit a village, with a lady named Miles, that was all made out of people called "squatters". Squatters are people who build homes out of many items and live on people's land. These type of people are always in fear of losing their home and that the landlords will force them off. We went to the village with food and bibles. When we arrived there were kids by the hundreds! They followed us around as we did a prayer walk through the village and we even held the kids' hands. We prayed all around the village, and prayed especially hard for those kids because we think God was really telling us that they need it the most. We ended the prayer walk around the village by giving the kids food. The kids brought many things to hold it in : pots, bowls, and anything that resembled it. After, we brought most of the kids in our cars to Miles' house. The ride was fun and it even featured a song called "Baby" by Justin Beiber. We hung out with the kids at bible study at Miles' house and were blessed with an impromptu preaching from Mr. Fleischmann. We thank God that this opportunity was given to us, and hope that you can pray for this village to be lifted of the burden that they might be forced out of their home.

Hae Song Feeding the children!

                   Mr. Fleischmann praying with the Pastor and his wife.
               Andrew and Nate with some kids from this community!

Day 3 According to Carley

This morning we went to church at the JCCV. (Jesus Christ's Church in the Valley) Today was the one year anniversary of their first English service. I found it to be a moving experience. I was really touched by the pastor's message about rejoicing. He quoted Philippians 4:4-7 which tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. He talked about how we should rejoice every day because there is always something to thank God for. As I was listening to this message I looked around at the people at the service and I noticed how happy they seemed. It made me think about how much we have to rejoice about. The people here in the Philippines have so little, yet they seem to be so thankful for what they do have, and they are constantly praising God. I think we can all learn so much from the people in this community.

Pastor of the JCCV Church

 Later in the afternoon, we split into two groups. My group went to a bible study at the JCCV with a bunch of local kids and we watched a movie. After, we went back to the Children's Home and did coloring pages with the kids and played with them. The kids are all so much fun and enthusiastic.

Coloring with the kids!

After dinner, we all went back to the home for devotions. Hope and Taylor talked about following leaders and how we need to find the right kind of leader to follow in our lives. The girls really seemed to pay attnetion to the message. Tomorrow should be a really busy day. Some of the members of our group will be participating in a basketball tournament, while some will be teaching swimming lessons, and others will be working in the nursery at the Children's Home. In the afternoon, some people will be going to bring food to a local village. I'm really looking forward to seeing how God uses us tomorrow and throughout the rest of the week.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Prayer Walk Through The Community

 This is Russel Phillips.  He and his family moved to the Philippine two months ago.  He is the short term Mission coordiantor here for K.I.M.  He led us on our prayer walk.
                                                        Here are some house here in Manila.

This is some of the land that K.I.M hopes to build some homes on someday.  Please pray that God would provide the $80,000 U.S. dollars it will take to do this project.

One of the many basketball courts here in Manila.  These kids were small, but man could they shoot!! :)

This is the Cuatro Community Church that K.I.M. partners with.  K.I.M helped them to build a bigger building.

This is a room in the church set aside for dental work to be performed for kids in the community that need it!

One of the classrooms inside of the church/school.

 On the TOP of church building is this basketball court.  It is surrounded by a fence!  Last year our boys got to play a game on this court!
Hair cut time!

                                                          Children in the community!

Please pray for this community.  Pray that God will continue to provide for their needs!

Taylor's Take on Day 2

The day began bright and early with a more than satisfying breakfast at 6:30. Right after that we all got ready to go out into the surrounding community not only to look around and get a feel for it, but also to pray. We started our pray walk going up to the New Faith Family Children's Home just up the road. This is the orphange where we will be spending a lot of our time playing with kids. We continued from there to Cuatro Community Church where weekly services are held by a local pastor, and it is the same building where 220 kids go to school at the Cuatro Christian School. On the way there, our "tour guide", Russel Philips, told us many of the miraculous stories of how this community came to be what it is today. One such story was of a young American teaching in Korea, Amos, who donated $100,000 to the KIM (Kids International Ministries) organization. He had visited in 2006 and fell in love with the Philippines and KIM. Soon after he returned to Korea, and he got married to a young woman named YunJin. Sadly, just tweenty days after their wedding, YunJin died in a tradgic car accident. Amos decided to donate all of YunJin's insurance money to KIM, and it was the perfect timing too. At the same time the money was donated, a building opened up for sale just a five minutes walk from the Cuatro Community Church. Not only was it the perfect timing, price, and place, but it was also the perfect size. You see, before this time teams that came through stayed at the church which wasn't very big and it got really crowded with the school, church services, and teams. Now, with the new place, they could let teams stay in a much larger and more comfortable place. It also allowed the founder of KIM and his family to move in and live a lot closer to their ministry. It just so happens to be the very place we are staying right now, and it is called the YMC (I do not know what it stands for). God used a tradgady to bless KIM and to get all the glory for the miracle. After praying over the church, we continued on to see a couple of the houses built by teams over the years. These were houses built for different families in the community to give them a place of their own so that they need not worry about being kicked off the land. One of the houses was even set up as a water station, and the family staying there was able to make a living. Now, people in the community can get clean drinking water for just one peso per gallon (which is a very good deal). Throughout the "tour" we also were able to see a few plots of land that KIM is hoping to buy and develop. We prayed over the land that God would provide the resources needed for KIM to be able to build more houses for other families without a house of their own. Our walk was now at an end and we headed back to the YMC. It was very obvious to all of us that God's hand is at work in this community, so join with us in praying for KIM and all that they do here in Manila, Philippines.

Day 2 According to Andrew

My highlight of the day was the epic basketball game we visited today. It was a basketball game for colleges and was Ateneo versus another college team. We rooted for Ateneo because the son of the director of Kids International Ministry was a starter on the team. His name is Kirk Long and he did very well today, lifting his team to victory. The atmosphere was competitive and people were shouting and screaming all around us. Basketball here is not that much different from basketball in Singapore, but the refs sure are better because Philippinos are super fans of basketball. We enjoyed sharing an important part of the culture and it will only strengthen us to make long-lasting bonds with these epic people.

Day 2 According to Carley

Today we went to the KIM Children's Home here in Manila. We brought toys and sports equipment such as basketballs, frisbees, soccer balls, and badminton rackets to use with the kids there. It was a lot of fun playing with all the kids. They were all really friendly and excited that we were there. They really seemed to enjoy the polaroid cameras we brought. All of the kids were so eager to have their pictures taken with us and they were especially excited that they got to keep their photos. We only got to spend about an hour at the children's home this weekend but we got to back this evening for devotions. I'm really excited to spend more time with the kids at the home this week.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Pics from the Airport

Hope, a senior, at the airport getting ready for the flight to Manila

West Fleischmann resting on Mrs. Fleischmann getting ready to get on the plane.

Jenny, Bin, and Tanya waiting at the airport for the vans that took us to K.I.M.

Tomas, ready to start working with kids

A Jeepney. This is the public transportation most readily used by the locals.

More to come

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Before Manila happened...

Taylor Flemming and I(Andrew Nguyen) experienced one of the most unexpected miracles to happen. We went to West Coast Plaza and we were looking to buy childrens vitamins. I only had 20 dollars and was planning to buy two bottles. Until the people working there, overheard that I was buying these for an orphanage in Manila, Philippines. They offered to donate through me to give to the orphans and I ended up coming out with 10 bottles of vitamins. Adding up to 500 pills, enough to sustain a child for more than a year. It was a blessing that we knew would only come from Jesus. Even before the trip, God has shown His great love for the orphans and He has prepared us greatly to be a blessing to them. We hope God will show his mercy and grace as we board the airplane. Praise God for this and many more to come.

ICS Manila Philippines Service Team

Faith of a Parent

To all the parents of students on the Week Without Walls team Manila, I, Sam Fleischmann on behalf of  Alicia Bandy, Don Cole, and Noelle Fleischmann would all like to thank you for your commitment to International Community School, your trust imparted to us as leaders of this trip and your faith in God who loves each of us so deeply.

I, am excited about this trip, this opportunity for 25 young men and women to travel to an area of the world where poverty is prevalent, the economic gap is vast, corruption is not uncommon and yet the people are some of the friendliest in the world.  This opportunity for young men and women to observe God's work being done through feeding programs, orphanages, schools, Bible Studies and the sport of basketball will make a mark in each students life. I pray the mark is a positive one that draws them closer to the Lord.

Please continue to pray with and for us.

This blog will be updated twice daily. Please check back often.  If it is not updated, we are having internet connectivity issues and will seek to remedy that as quickly as possible.


Sam Fleischmann

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Our group will be leaving for Manila, Phillipines this Friday. While we are there, we will be working with Kids International Ministries, which runs an orphanage in Manila. We will be helping out with whatever is needed there, including speding time playing with the kids, doing manual labor, and serving the local community. We are also bringing  much needed items to donate to the orphanage, such as sports equipment, medicine, diapers, school supplies, etc. Throughout the week, we will share the love of Christ with the children and the community by spending time teaching about God's word and sharing personal testimonies. Please pray for our safe travels and that we are able to help out the people of Manila to the best of our abilities, both physically and spiritually.