Honest Hands Program Update:
The campfire was beginning to dwindle, but the joy of students definitely was not. It was an amazing ending to a hectic and stressful week. To make it even better, a youth and Greg were walking to our house to take back some of the things used for Sarah’s-Filipino-Chili supper, & hotdog & marshmallow roast, when he said “This is the first time I have learned that praying is enjoyable.” Then he apologised for sometimes misbehaving 🙂 and expressed his desire to be a part of the long term program. Also, during a devotion time led by one of our volunteer workers at that same campfire, the students were encouraged to write on a piece of paper one struggle/temptation that they want God to help them defeat. One of the students spoke up and asked, “Can I write down two?!” All the students threw their pieces of paper in the fire, as a symbol of that sin being defeated. It still tugs at my (Greg’s) heart to remember that moment. We were praying that these camps would be a time of spiritual growth and would spark a desire to change for the guys attending and we do believe that it was. Eighteen young men between the ages of 15-20 attended the two discipleship camps that we held. Many of the guys that attended are living in shelters run by different agencies, and others are living in impoverished areas, but all are from difficult life situations with many being former street children.
From the two camps, Greg and Pastor Mel have chosen ten young men who they have invited to attend the eight month discipleship program which will start August 18th. So much for us starting off slowly and easing into this new role by not having our maximum of students… Please pray for these 10 young guys as they prepare to be discipled at Honest Hands for the next 8 months.
We praise God that we have two house staff confirmed for the upcoming program (Pastor Ron and Aram). Both men were involved in the discipleship camps as house staff and both Greg and Pastor Mel feel like they would be a big asset to the ministry. They are going through orientation and preparations this week which includes their job description, responsibilities, assigned Bible & tutorial teaching lessons, and reviewing ACTION’s child protection policy. Their role goes beyond just a job description and tasks. They will be a mentor and big brother figure to these young men over the next 8 months. Please pray that Pastor Ron and Aram will be able to connect well with the Honest Hands students, have patience with the students, and will have a desire to see God change the lives of the youth.
Department of Social Welfare License Renewal
This coming October ACTION International’s operating license & accreditation will expire. This means that every ministry has to get together a number of requirements to be submitted. This has put added pressure on Greg since he is still trying to figure out all the details for restarting the ministry, and all the administrative duties that that requires. Writing policies, agreements, worker contracts & schedules, figuring out workers salaries, reviewing previous documents, and handling the finances & reporting are just a few of the things that we weren’t anticipating taking up a big chunk of our ministry time, but this administrative aspect comes with the job for sure. So please pray that Greg would be able to get all the requirements together and fulfill all his administrative duties.
Honest Hands Reunion
On July 11 – 12 we put on a reunion for the former graduates of Honest Hands. There was at least one representative from all 9 Honest Hands Batches. The former ministry leaders, Carl, Lisa and their four boys were back for a visit, so this was really a special time for them and the graduates. One of the main purposes for the two days was to encourage the guys to continue walking in their relationship with God, and turn back to Him if they have strayed. During a sharing time, many shared their struggles in life, but also how they will never forget what God has taught them at Honest Hands. Those two days were also a huge encouragement for us. We could see how God has used Honest Hands to impact the lives of many young men.
On July 16th Typhoon Glenda ripped through the Philippines, actually directly through our property. From 3am – 6am we experienced wind and pelting rain like we have never experienced before. Then for about an hour there was an eerie calm. That was the eye of the storm, which meant we would experience the same as the first, except the wind coming the other direction. So for approximately another 3 hours the wind howled and knocked down more trees on the property. We lost a mango and jackfruit tree, and many more damaged, but we thank God that no-one was hurt and no buildings were damaged. We were without hydro for a week (the campus has a generator that ran for a total of 8 hours per day however), and many homes near us were roofless after the storm. Things are pretty much back to normal now after a lot of clean-up. Greg even got to use a chainsaw. Something he didn’t expect to do while here. Oh, did we forget to mention that all of this happened during our second camp! This really changed things in our schedule, but as mentioned above, it didn’t distract from what God was doing in the lives of the youth! It meant we had extra hands to help clean-up! Thank you for your prayers during this time.
Please also Continue to Pray for our Family
By God’s grace and by trusting in Him we continue to adjust to our new life in the Philippines. Just the other day we were talking about the “joys” of being a missionary. Let us know if you can think of anyone who experiences this all within three months: new baby; pack-up our lives; have a 20 hour plane ride with two kids; move to a different country – new and hot climate, new culture, different language, no family across the lane or down the road, find new friends, new house, new church, new sicknesses, new food, new & different shopping experiences, new way of life; new job – never been “the boss” before, no punch clock, decisions and responsibilities ultimately fall on us; and the list could go on. No pity party needed! We just want to put into perspective what we have experienced while trying to adjust to our new life here. Thanks to a Skype call from our PAOC Regional Director, Peter McIntosh, we realized that short fuses and feeling stressed is quite normal considering our circumstances. We really do love our new home however! It is beautiful here and we have a great group of people we are living with. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we continue to adjust.
We are once again asking you to pray for our families health. After several weeks of being sick, Samuel and Asher had finally kicked whatever was in their system. Then, Sarah got sick at the beginning of the second camp but got over it rather quickly. Greg wasn’t feeling 100% but didn’t end up getting sick thank goodness! We all seemed to finally be healthy since the last camp ended until last week when Sam woke up with a high fever. It is discouraging to us to be getting sick so often within such a short period of time. We really do covet your prayers as we serve here and need the Lord’s covering. At times we feel that it is a spiritual battle going on since sickness has come during very important and busy ministry times. And at other times we feel it is our bodies fighting the different bacteria and viruses we face here.
Just Some Cute Pics of the Boys!