Update from the Philippines!
Giving to Help Filipino Flood Effort"At the beginning of August, several major storms hit the Philippines, which resulted in severe flooding—especially in the Manila area. Many organizations and churches worked together to raise funds and volunteers to help families who were affected by the floods. In some areas of the city, the water levels reached up to the rooftops of their houses. The government helped by placing those families who were severely affected by the flood in evacuation centers. Part of what we teach to our students is that we have received great blessings from God in order to be a blessing to others. Our theme for this year is “Blessed to Bless,” taken from Matthew 10:8: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Since IBLP’s goal in the Philippines is to work through the government to meet the needs of the country, we contacted the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to learn about ways we could help with the flood relief. Following the storms, we went for three days to the National Relief Operation Center (NROC) to help pack food and supplies. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. we worked as a team to bag rice, canned goods, and coffee into sacks that were then loaded onto trucks to be taken to the evacuation centers across the city. Hardly taking any breaks and working with speed and diligence, we were able to send out more than six thousand family packages each day! Not only were the students able to bless the families who received the packages, but they were also a testimony of character to the government workers because of their perseverance, enthusiasm, and endurance."
~Report by Andrew Jorgensen
A Journey Through Pain to Peace and Power"Last year in the spring, a group of shy, English-speaking young people came to visit us from the Philippines. As we got to know them, they opened up and became some of the most hilarious and fun-loving people you could ever imagine, but their view of God seemed shallow. Some had just heard about Him; others secretly hated Him for what had happened in their lives. But as they continued with the program—going through character training, going on a Journey to the Heart, being individually discipled by the staff—they kept learning. They dug deeper into their lives, deeper into their pasts, and the difference in those young people says one thing—God is real and He is powerful!
About eight months after the program started, I had the indescribable privilege of spending time with them in Manila over the holidays. What I saw was amazing. I admit that they were still normal young people. They still had their issues with each other, they still procrastinated on their homework and their lesson planning, and they still got into trouble every now and then. But there was a whole new level of spiritual hunger and desire.I remember sitting on my bed one day with one of the girls as she told me about her terrible past and the hurts she had been through. As she spoke, I saw the peace on her face and I marveled because she had come to the point where she was trusting God’s love despite her past and her uncertain future. Watching them go out and teach groups of (usually) ragged and dirty little street kids about character and Christ was amazing. To see these young people, some of whom were former street kids themselves, sitting on the floor or in some cases on the ground with little kids on their laps and climbing all over them proved yet again that when we give God the opportunity, He does take ashes and give us beauty, and He can and will redeem even the worst story or circumstance."
~Report by Laura Oliverio