So what does it take to select the Honest Hands recipients? Effort, sweat, prayer and long meetings. The effort part is contacting and visiting previous ministry partners to share the details regarding the start-up of another program. We also make connections with new churches and agencies, visit them and promote Honest Hands. We need to clearly explain the vision, mission and goals of our program. This can be difficult since a pastor or ministry worker might have their own idea of what Honest Hands will be and who among their youth might be suited for the program. We have to explain that we are not an academic school, but a discipleship training program. My comment always is, “first things first.” Before focusing only on academic education, new Christians from difficult life situations, who have a desire to draw close to God need to have a strong foundation in their faith before considering what is next for them. Honest Hands is for these guys!
Next, we start accepting applications for the two discipleship and recruitment camps that took place in April this year. Then we buy a lot of rice, (like 50kls) and food from the market which Nanay (mom) Tess transforms into delicious dishes which makes the camps even more fun. Then the HH team prepares lessons on topics like salvation, purity, prayer and devotions, worship and more. Greg led sports which most have never played (sure is fun watching them through a frisbee which they call a “plate”). We have the Bible and mentoring sessions throughout the week and we went out to a tourist spot which overlooks Taal Volcano. The guys are with us from Monday morning to Friday after lunch. We observe the guys and interview them one-on-one, trying to discern if they really have a desire to grow in their faith, or if they are just not yet ready.
After the two camps we spend time in prayer, praying for each guy and praying for wisdom for choosing the next batch of Honest Hands. After we have come up with a temporary list, we go on the road again, often braving Manila traffic to discuss our observations with the guys’ pastors or ministry workers. We ask questions like how long they’ve been involved in church, if the pastor sees a desire for spiritual growth in the guys, and if they think the youth will benefit from being involved in Honest Hands.
After these visits which took two weeks we sit down again and make our final decision. After that, we have a bit of down time for vacation and then it’s time to prepare for the long-term program. Simple, right…
I forgot one thing… we ask you to pray! And we know that many of you do, and we can’t do it without your partnership in prayer.
Thank you for praying for the start of this batch of Honest Hands. Please continue to pray for these guys as they continue to work out their salvation in the Lord.