Four and a half months, 9 churches visited, hundreds of new faces seen by Sam and Asher, thousands of kilometers traveled, quality time spent with friends and family, some much appreciated vacation time, finding out Sarah is pregnant, enjoying the beautiful Fall colors, lots of snow for us to have fun in, enjoying Christmas with our families, saying our goodbyes so soon 🙁 that pretty well sums up our time in Canada. However, we left the most important thing out. God’s faithfulness. We are so thankful for the opportunity that we had to reconnect with and connect with for the first time those who support our family and the Honest Hands ministry. Although the travel can be tiring, it is a privilege and blessing to meet so many of God’s people ministering in different churches. We are thankful for God’s provisions through the generosity and faithfulness of so many of his followers! Thank you to everyone who made our home assignment such a fruitful and blessed time! We are also so thankful for such an amazing team here at Honest Hands who took on a lot of extra responsibilities while we were away.
Please pray for us as we adjust back to life and ministry in the Philippines.
Pray also for Sarah’s pregnancy and that we will be able to find an OB and hospital that we are comfortable with delivering our child.
An Exciting Opportunity!
On top of the regular sounds of classes, students playing basketball, and two noisy Canadian boys, our campus is buzzing with the sound of sledge hammers, delivery trucks, cement mixers, and construction workers. The dilapidated 30+ year old residence hall for Working Hands Discipleship and Vocation School is being rebuilt. Over 500 students have had the opportunity to be discipled in practical Christian living and empowered to earn a living through vocational training. Our hope and prayer is that this new residence hall will be a blessing to many more young men from difficult life situations. And you can be a part of that blessing! Thankfully some donations have been made so that the project is underway. But unfortunately we only have about 28% of the estimated $360,000 USD needed for the project. If the Lord is putting it on your heart and you would like to partner with us and be a part of this exciting opportunity please click here to find out how. To find out more about the project and the Working Hands ministry you can read this document. Also you can read the December and January progress reports by clicking on those links. Working Hands is a vital ministry which has trained many Honest Hands graduates. Thanks for considering this project.
Honest Hands Batch 12 Update
“We are thankful to God and to the ministry team at Honest Hands. There has been some really big changes in F.B.’s life. Even the way he carries himself. He’s always smiling now and seems more responsible. The way he treats his family has really improved as well. Thank you Honest Hands family. To God be the Glory.” That is the testimony of one of our ministry partners about F.B. since he has joined Honest Hands. Praise God for how he continues to work in the lives of these youth. Please pray that F.B. and the other students would continue to allow God to work in their lives, and that they experience God’s life changing power!
Unfortunately there was also a student, G.A. who decided to leave Honest Hands and return to his former way of life. Currently another student, J.R. has not returned from the break and shows little interest/effort in returning. He faced a very challenging situation at home due to his own personal problem/sin, and although we the HH team and his pastor have tried to be supportive, this is the situation we are faced with. Please pray that G.A. and J.R. would surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and get back on track in their relationship with Christ.
It seems that at the beginning of every batch we say, “This is the group that will be complete at graduation.” But in all 12 batches so far, unfortunately at least one person has dropped out. In trying to explain this to and make sense of it with one of our friends he simply said, “It is like the Israelites in the wilderness after being freed from Egypt.” They experienced an incredible God moment to remove them from slavery, hardship and an overall awful life, and were looking forward to an amazing promise of blessing that God had set ahead for them. There was only one problem. They had to experience a time of growth, and challenges and a time of learning to persevere and obey God in order to prepare them for that wonderful promised land. But, instead of keeping their eyes fixed on what was ahead and doing everything they could to work towards that goal, they grumbled as they looked at their sometimes challenging situation in the wilderness, and looked back to their life of slavery thinking they would be better off if they just went back. BETTER OFF IN A LIFE OF SLAVERY???!!! Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous! But that was what was familiar to them. That is all that they had known. And that is the situation we are faced with when one of our HH students decides to give up on the growth that has been taking place, choose to stop looking forward to God’s wonderful plan and return to the only life they have known. And no matter how awful we think that way of life is, we will never understand the battle that is taking place in their minds for their hearts and lives. In a way, we, the HH ministry team can understand how Moses must have felt when he was walking through the wilderness with the Israelites. Our heart hurts for these guys, we just wish we could open their eyes so they could get a glimpse of the richness of living out God’s wonderful plan for them and living in right relationship with Him. These guys really need our prayers for them to have victory over the battle that is taking place in their minds.
We are now in our 3rd and final section of classes. The first section is entitled, “KNOW” and focuses on a condensed Old Testament history, and basic doctrines and practices of our faith. The second section is, “GROW.” Here we focus on topics that would help them grow in their faith now and equip them to continue to do so in the future. And the Third is, “GO” where we aim to equip them for life and ministry in the world and fulfilling the great commission. We are excited to see how they are growing in their faith and taking an interest in the Bible sessions. Pray that all the students would continue to surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit and apply God’s Word to their lives. It is hard to believe that graduation is just around the corner, at the beginning of March. Before then we will be taking the guys on a missions trip to an orphanage in Banaue, and we will have a team from Steinbach Bible College visit and minister with us. Please pray that the final two months of this batch will go smoothly and be fruitful.
Third Culture Kids
If you have been following our updates, you will know that we have been including some information on Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and how to specifically pray for Sam and Asher. We can’t thank you enough for remembering Sam and Asher before our loving God in prayer. We realize that every child needs to be covered in prayer and that each one faces different challenges throughout their life. As TCKs there are some unique things that are faced as they grow up in different cultures.
During our time in Canada, Sam and Asher had the opportunity to attend the midweek program at our home church in Elmira and attend Sunday School and Kids Church on Sundays when we were there. They looked forward to these programs so much. We are so thankful for the time and effort the teachers put in every week to make these programs happen. These programs were a way also for Sam and Asher to connect with people from our church and build stronger relationships even at young ages. At other churches they also had the opportunity to share in the children’s programs a bit of what their life is like in the Philippines. They loved to tell people what their favourite foods are, what the weather is like, what they like to play and of course about our dog. This is important for them to do because it helps them digest the differences they live in and it also gives the listeners insight and more understanding about their life.
- That Sam and Asher will be able to be a blessing to our supporting churches as well as supporting families and individuals with insights into their lives here.
- That our partner churches, families and individuals will take the time to reach out to Sam and Asher to maintain close connections.
- That our children will feel the love and support from supporting churches and individuals.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…”
OMF International. Growing Up Among Worlds.
Pictures from Our Time in Canada
Your continued encouragement, prayer and financial support for our ministry and family is appreciated and vital. Thank you for partnering with us as we minister to young men from difficult life situations and those in the community around us.