Living in the Philippines has given us a lot of opportunities to see poverty up close. We have a community living next door to our house who most Americans would classify as extremely poor. We see the poor daily. There is a woman and her child who lives out of a wheelchair that she pushes around the neighborhoods near our house (the child walks, the wheelchair just holds all that they own). We sometimes see them walking down the street, sometimes eating rice on the street that people have given to them, sometimes looking through garbage bins for things to sell for money.
The view from our back window.
But we have also learned that alleviating poverty is not a simple problem, even if we had unlimited funds at our disposal. So often, except in the case of emergencies, simply giving money to the poor can foster dependence upon the giver as opposed to freeing the poor from the cycle of poverty. In fact, giving sometimes does more damage than good if it is given unwisely.
To help many of us understand these issues, another missionary and myself have started a small group dealing with the issue of poverty. We are using materials from Food for the Hungry that give a broad overview of what poverty alleviation looks like from a biblical perspective. Between 20 and 30 people have been coming to each meeting so far, many of them missionaries and some of them Filipinos who are working with the poor. Everyone is hungry for a better way to help the poor, for a better way to make a real lasting impact in the lives of the poor.
We are asking for your prayers. Poverty for us is "in your face" and very real. It does not go away easily. Yet, as Christians we know that we are called to address the issue because we are called to care like God himself cares. We want to help the poor -- but real help is often harder than it looks. Pray that we may put what we are learning into real, practical help for the poor.
Seems like a short while ago I gave birth to our daughter Mikayla....and now she is 15!
Mikayla - taken this morning of her birthday
As one of her friends told her, "...half way to 30!"
having ice cream and brownies with friends
Mikayla is a blessing. She is doing well in her studies, playing basketball on the High School girls team, helping lead a weekly Bible Study at school, continuing to play her clarinet, and writing.
We continue to pray that God, our Heavenly Father, glorious, may give Mikayla the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that she may know him better. We pray also that the eyes of her heart may be enlightened in order that she may know the hope to which he has called her, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Faith Academy Mindanao, the Christian school for Missionary children our kids attend, is in need of the following for the next school year (2010-11).......Check it out....are you a retired teacher or librarian? Want to serve for a year or two overseas? Teach motivated children with actively involved parents?........
* Kindergarten Teacher * Elementary School Upper Elementary Teachers * Middle School Mathematics Teacher (6-8) * High School Bible Teacher (9-12) * High School English Teacher (9-12) * High School Librarian (9-12) * High School Science Teacher (9-12) * Physical Education Teacher (K-12) * Special Education Teacher (K-12) * Guidance Counselor and Chaplain
Interested? Email Mr. Alan Farlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Please pray that Faith Academy will obtain all the teaching staff needed for the next school year. It's always amazing to see how God works!
James and Jerard turned two on October 26th. That morning a couple friends with their young children, James, Jerard, Arlene, and I went to Play Zone at a local mall. The kids played for one hour there, then we ate lunch at McDonalds - a special treat for James and Jerard. They both love coke and french fries!
Helping Jerard down the slide
James!.... finally, a computer he can touch!!!
Jeralyn, pushing her son, Silas
Friends - Ashlyn, Keighly, Ewan
Jerard with Arlene
Lydia, Louise's daughter
Silas giving James a ride on the roller coaster
All Saints Day is being celebrated as usual. It is almost a carnival-like atmosphere at the local cemeteries.
Here is more about the holiday:
"In the Philippines, it is called Araw ng mga Patay (Day of the Dead), Todos Los Santos or Undas (the latter two due to the fact that this holiday is celebrated on November 1, All Saints Day), designated by the Roman Catholic Church). The Filipino citizens treat it as an almost festive event and has more of a "family reunion" atmosphere. It is said to be an "opportunity to be with" the departed and is done in a somewhat solemn way. When November 1 hits the calendar, the "Araw ng mga Patay" for the Filipinos start, as a celebration of the solemn and collective remembrance of the Day of the Dead. The almost festive movements are not short, for in fact lasts till the next day, which is the All Souls Day. Catholics in the Philippines have a tradition of setting aside their days to wind down and remember their dead loved ones. Since the Philippines have the most number of catholic citizens in the whole of Asia, a lot of people celebrate the fact that the whole of the state has a mandatory two day vacation for the whole country."