Sharing God’s love with youth in the Philippines

Erin Johnson with youth

Erin Johnson with youth

The ministry of Brand New Day began in 2009 with a weekly outreach to street children in the province of Cavite, southwest of Manila. These children and youth are living, sleeping, and working on the streets due to extreme poverty, neglect, and abusive family situations. The ministry has continued to grow as the team seeks to build relationships with the kids and tries to help them and their families through various programs. ACTION missionary Erin Johnson helped found Brand New Day and gives a ministry update:

“Though our outreach programs continue to thrive, much of our time and energy is focused on the daily life and needs of the youth in our two shelters. These are not just ordinary teenagers, but most have been abused or abandoned as young children. Most have lived a pretty wild life on the streets before deciding to enter our program to get their lives back on track. We are realizing that their previous life on the street in itself is an addiction for them. In the same way a recovering alcoholic is strongly lured by only one whiff of drink, the old life of many of these kids seems to be ever-looming in the background to haunt and draw them back to the street. In essence, we seem to be not only offering them shelter, but also running a rehab program.

“Their emotional needs are complex, too, and many display very difficult-to-handle behaviors. However, despite all this, we can really see God moving and we still feel compelled to pursue this ministry, through and only by the strength of the Lord!

“In January, JN (a 12-year-old boy) decided to leave the shelter. In early March, MM and LL (young teen girls) also left. It is always hard on the staff and other young people when kids choose to leave since we are like a family. Unfortunately, sometimes residents choose to quit rehab programs. We are praising God, though, that LL returned last week. She is still struggling spiritually and sometimes talks of running away again. Please keep praying for these three, plus TL and AL who left last year.

“Meanwhile, the other 11 youth in the shelter continue to grow in their scholastic abilities, life skills, and spiritual walks with God. Carlo, RM, and JP have worked hard this year in middle and high school, while RA and CD have begun studying upper-level ALS, a basic literacy program, while waiting for their test results to see if they can go to seventh grade in June. Our other shelter kids, along with a few other kids from the street, are in the lower-level ALS classes which are held every morning at our day center.

“On the outreach front, we still have a total of 90-100 children, youth, and adults attending our two fellowships each week. Our youth leaders-in-training continue to take main roles in leading these outreaches. It is truly amazing to see how far they have come from once living on the street! Please pray for the young men and women at Brand New Day that they will serve the Lord wholeheartedly and seek His will for their lives.”

Short-term team ministers in Malawi

Brett praying for a widow

Brett praying for a widow

Last year a short-term mission team from Peace River Bible Institute (PRBI) in Alberta, Canada, traveled to Malawi to work with ACTION’s missionaries there. One of the members, Brent Surbey, gave a summary of his time and activities in Africa and told about the impact the trip had on him:

“As a member of the short-term PRBI ACTION Malawi team, I can easily say that it was the most life-changing summer I have ever had. We did a lot of different work, ranging from singing songs, visiting hospital patients, praying for widows and delivering food to them, teaching children and youth, playing games with kids, and preaching in local churches.

“The activity that impacted me the most was definitely the ministry to the widows. I have a heart for helping people, especially people who are suffering or in need in any way. Encouraging these widows was something that really made me feel like I was making a difference. I was being the hands and feet of God by spreading His love through food, prayer and encouragement to hurting people.

“Even though I had some amazing experiences, I also had some real challenges as well. Probably the two hardest things I faced while in Malawi were dealing with the differences we had as a team while striving to work together efficiently, and trying to understand that I serve a loving, caring God while seeing young kids in very bad condition in the hospital.

“There were nights where the team would have disagreements among its members—almost to the point of getting into heated arguments—because of our very different personalities. I learned through this challenge that even though you might not agree with how someone might present an idea or do an activity, sometimes you just need to trust the other’s judgment and go with it.

“The second challenge came from visiting sick kids in the hospital in Ntcheu. This was something that really shook my view of God and made me question His love. The kids were just lying there with very limited help and it was hard for me to grasp if God cared. And, if He did, why wasn’t He doing anything to help them? But looking back, I realize that God was doing something: He was helping the hurting kids through us. He used our team to ease suffering and show Himself in a loving way to the Malawians.

“The trip last summer was really phenomenal. I know I will never forget the wonderful experiences, lessons, challenges, and growth that came along with it.”

Discipleship 2:7 graduation in Zambia

Tracy with one of the graduates

Tracy with one of the graduates

Tracy Singleton writes, “We had a historic moment this last week as we celebrated our first graduation that included both men and women from our Discipleship 2:7 program. This graduation included two groups led by Pastors Josphat Mtonga and Easter Ngoma.”

Please pray for these graduates as they continue serving the Lord in Zambia.

Connecting ten-year-old girls in Michigan and Cuba

Ruth holding the envelope and picture of Natalie

Ruth holding the envelope and picture of Natalie

Keith Kaynor writes, “Natalie Ishioka is a 10-year-old at our church, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, Michigan. She became concerned about Cuba when an offering was received for bikes for Cuban pastors at our annual Vacation Bible School.

“Natalie started saving money from the plays she put on in her family’s basement. While she only charged 2 or 3 cents per person, it began to add up. As my wife, Marilyn, and I were about to leave for a teaching trip to Cuba earlier this year, Natalie had a whopping $14.89 which she gave to us.

“It was such a joy to deliver the money to Ruth, the 10-year-old daughter of Pastor and Mrs. Magdiel Matos in Matanzas, Cuba. Ruth was so pleased! She said she was going to invest the money in shoes for school, and felt God was rewarding her for giving money to students at school who had needed a little help in the past. What a joy it was to connect these 10-year-olds!”

New discipleship classes beginning in the Philippines

Paul and Pat Ellis

Paul and Pat Ellis

Paul Ellis writes, “Weekly Life Discipleship classes for both men and women are scheduled to begin the evening of April 16 in Cebu City. Monthly classes will also begin in Tagbilaran, Bohol, in May.

“Please pray that the class participants selected by local coordinators will be diligent in attendance and completing coursework assignments. Pray they will also be faithful disciplers as they pass the baton to others.”

Paul and Pat Ellis have taught the Life Discipleship course in the Philippines for 18 years. They have trained numerous pastors and Christian leaders. Many of these pastors and leaders then train others using the seminar. The teaching is a 22-lesson course about the practical side of progressive sanctification.

Children in Colombia surrender their lives to the Lord

Children at feeding program

Children at feeding program

Raquel De Jesús writes, “We praise God for the way He is using the feeding program at our ministry center. The children seem healthier and stronger and they are doing well in their studies, But what encourages us most is when they make decisions to obey and follow Jesus. In our morning class, we just finished the book of Romans and I asked the young people to write what they learned and are thankful for.

“According to Ryan, ‘I am thankful for Christ’s example of submission and love in submitting to His Father God. He did everything for His love for the Father and for us and I want to be like Him.’

“According to 8-year-old Sebastian, ‘The things that I like most in our Bible class are learning and memorizing Bible verses, learning Christian songs, and learning how to talk to God. I also decided to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. Since then, I pray in the morning and in the evening and take time to read the Bible. My life is much better now.’

“Please pray with us that all of the children coming to the ministry center will surrender their lives to Jesus. Pray also for the continued spiritual growth of those who have made a decision to follow the Lord.”

Missionaries needed to serve worldwide

Short-term missionary with children in Malawi

Short-term missionary with children in Malawi

Please pray with ACTION for many additional missionaries to work in evangelism, discipleship and development in each of the countries we serve: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Fiji Islands, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, Taiwan, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zambia.

To learn more about opportunities to serve with ACTION, please click here.

Pastoral care conference in the Philippines

Jeff Anderson with pastor

Jeff Anderson with pastor

Jeff Anderson writes, “ACTION’s Street Impact Team (SITeam), in cooperation with Food for the Hungry’s team based in Tacloban City held a care conference for representatives from churches throughout the area that was smashed by super typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 and twice again in December 2014 by super typhoons.

“Seventy-five pastors, wives and elders enjoyed good food, fellowship, an overnight in a comfortable hotel and teaching from God’s Word. They also received several books including a copy of the New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible. Several told me they enjoyed the conference but especially the genuine sense of brotherhood in Christ they felt. Thanks for praying that we’d truly minister the New Testament’s ‘one another’ verses to our brethren who are persevering to overcome their deep losses. Continue to pray for them, please.”

Training Christian workers in India

Former Living Word Centre class

Former Living Word Centre class

Joshua and Reena Pradhan founded Living Word Centre (LWC) in 1994 after serving as missionaries for more than seven years. LWC is a legally registered charity trust that works toward equipping the church and uplifting the community spiritually, socially, intellectually and economically in the Eastern Himalayan region of India. They recently told about some friends and supporters who visited them and assisted in their ministry.

Joshua writes, “Bert and Heather Kamphuis from Coquitlam, British Columbia, have been good friends of ours since our Prairie Bible Institute days and have also been our faithful supporters over the years. They were very busy during 18 days spent with us and had something lined up every single day. We were able to visit Gangtok, Kalimpong, and Darjeeling; they spoke at every place we went. A local Christian TV channel even interviewed them about their work among international students in Canada. Their preaching in schools and churches and teaching at LWC and at a local seminary were greatly appreciated.

“God faithfully brings young people to us for training at Living Word Centre in preparation for their ministry in different churches and mission fields. Each year, we have four 6-week training programs where we take our students through biblical and practical subjects. We recently held the 67th and 68th training programs at LWC. During the last program, it was an honor to have Bert and Heather with us teaching the students. Bert spoke on leadership from the life of Nehemiah. Heather taught Bible study methods and shared how to make various craft items and cakes and cookies. They also brought a few boxes of books from Operation Mobilization which proved to be a huge blessing to our students.

“We praise God for the many students who have been blessed at LWC. Please pray for the Lord to guide them as they serve in various ministries today. Pray that God will provide funds so that more poor, but deserving, students will be able to attend future programs at LWC. Students are responsible for half the cost of the training program and LWC subsidizes the rest.”

New life in the Philippines

Pami with MJ and his family

Pami with MJ and his family

Pami Ellis is a registered nurse and midwife serving at Shalom Christian Birthing Home. She recently shared about a newborn who had a difficult entrance into the world.

“MJ entered the human race on February 17. I wasn’t supposed to be at his birth. I’m rarely present at births these days as I have so many administrative responsibilities, and I was supposed to be out of town on this day. The week of his birth, we had a guest, Victoria Lawrence, at Shalom to help teach the course, ‘Helping Babies Breathe,’ an initiative by the WHO and AAP to help babies survive in low-resource countries. Vicky and I had already taught three half-day classes to Shalom staff and local midwives.

“However, little MJ’s mama had a rough go of it. Only 18, she’d been in labor for over 24 hours with no pain relief. She was tired and more than ready to meet her little man. We’d finished prenatals early, so I poked my head into our delivery room and saw our midwives working hard with this young lady. Excited that it was finally her moment to shine, I put on some gloves and got ready to assist as needed. We coached, cheered, and celebrated each millimeter of progress, but it was slow and exhausting. MJ was tolerating labor well and his strongly beating heart was a comfort as we all became a bit worn out from the process. Just before he finally made his appearance, an hour and half after mama had started pushing, Vicky peeked around the curtain to see what was going on. MJ was finally born: blue, floppy, and fighting for his life.

“Never did I imagine that Vicky and I would be putting into practice what we had been teaching. We had been demonstrating how to help babies breathe for nine cumulative hours already, so automatically jumped into our roles to give MJ every chance at survival. Shalom staff watched wide-eyed as Vicky and I worked, seeing our teaching put into practice.

“Ten of the longest minutes later, MJ finally started to breathe well on his own. Praise God his heart stayed strong throughout and it was clear he was fighting to live. At the end of the day, I cling to the fact that God alone can command a baby to breathe. Only He determines the minutes, hours, days, years, and decades of our lives. While I do everything I can in my human abilities to give every child the best chance of survival, the responsibility ultimately rests with God.”