Since I have been back in the United States, college and other activities have managed to consume much of my time. By God’s grace, however, friends have listened to my stories and have begun looking for ways that they can help.
Because other members of my church have also voiced a desire to become more involved in reaching out globally, our pastors recently hired one of the church members to work part-time as a mercy ministries coordinator. I have been able to talk to him and his wife about my experiences in the Philippines, and they are currently exploring ways our church could support the orphanage.
I was also able to collect many items that we sent to the orphanage this past Christmas. By the generous donations of families in my church, we were able to send approximately 250 articles of clothing, 250 books, a sewing machine, 2 boom boxes, a webcam, some kids CDs, a couple of sermons on CD, some cassette tapes, 17 backpacks, a few toys, including a toy cash register, and some other miscellaneous items.
Lee sent me this message after they received the items:
“Ariel, I just wanted to thank you and the Church immensely for sharing such a great treasure with us. You cannot imagine the joy in my heart to receive so many good teachings and good Christian books, as well as music and clothing. The kids really love the music. All the kids including most of the high school students can’t leave the cash register alone. They are constantly calculating on it and exploring its parameters. Thank you so much and God bless. We all together will be reaping from the treasures you have given in love…”
And then later she said,
“You might like to hear that the kids used the register to calculate their averages this second semester. Nearly everyone’s grades improved… Marwen was sharing with Pastor Alan how before coming here, he used to be a terrible student, constantly skipping class. Today he is first in his class.”
The month after I came back from the Philippines, the senior pastor of His Dwelling Christian Church in Cebu City (Cornelio Ebo) came to the United States with his wife, Nadine, and son, Carlos, so that he could attend a pastors college for ten months. During the first few weeks they were here, before they were given a car, I drove them to the store and showed them around a little bit. It was so much fun! In the fall, I took them to an autumn festival in Western Maryland. It has been really entertaining to watch them experience fall and winter for the first time.
This upcoming Sunday, they will be attending my church. I’m going to introduce them and tell the congregation a little bit about my experience in the Philippines and thank the church for their donations. Then after the service, Pastor Nilo and his family are going to the mercy ministries coordinator’s house to tell more people about his ministry in the Philippines.
I am excited to see how God will continue to work in the Philippines and bless everyone there. Please pray that more people would be able to partner with the church and the orphanage. I would really appreciate it if you did. (And maybe you will be able to donate or serve there, too. A little help goes a long way.) And thank you for reading my blog! God bless you all!