Hello all of my sweet friends! What an absolute blessing it has been to be back here in the Philippines. My almost forty hours of travel time was actually one of the most stressful and physically exhausting times of my life. Just before leaving I acquired a very nasty cold (not covid rest assured). This cold left me with a horrendous cough, weakness and even difficulty breathing. Along with stress and anxiety due to ever changing travel policies I couldn’t help but cry out to God to get me through those hours. It was really hard I’ll be honest. My spirit felt beyond weak. Doubt sprung up in me and my once excitement to be back in this nation turned into “maybe I should just not get on this flight and wait it out.”
[ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28 NIV ] As I struggled within, His promise spoken here set my heart ablaze with peace.
Sure enough I hopped on the plane last minute and within the next twelve hours my cold basically vanished. I had a small circle of people praying for me during this time and I know Abba heard their cries along with my own. It wasn’t the start I imagined for these next three months but alas it was a start. I’m sitting here two weeks later now and just really thankful. For even in the midst of chaos I was given the gift of peace from my Father who cares.
My first week back was full of catching up with friends and resting with Jesus. I arrived at the start of Holy Week. It was a time of refreshment for my soul and time to really seek the Lord as I prepare for my next few weeks here. I was able to attend Favor Church, my home church when I lived here long term and wow! How cool to see what God has continued to do with this church. It continues to be a blessing in my life.
Last time I was here my main focus in ministry was our Hope Alive women’s clinic. This time around my gears are shifted. The clinic is up and thriving still – don’t worry! The vision to reach more women has continued to expand and so many babies have been born. Pandemic babies if you know what I’m saying. New leadership is in motion and God’s hand is so firm over the clinic. I praise God for the season I had in the clinic and for all the growth through hardships. I trust and know He continues to be faithful even if my time here looks way different than before.
Due to the pandemic the Philippines had completely shut down to the outside world. Most of the income to keep these ministries up and running was sourced from teams who would come and serve here at Kids International. With no travel allowed there were no teams, simply meaning no money. Donations still flowed but the reality is it wasn’t enough to keep serving in the same ways Kids International always had. New ideas were created to reach surrounding communities and the team here really had to adapt and overcome.
One of my biggest prayers here last time around was that Filipinos would be emboldened in their faith and be the ones really leading this community. Although Kids International is full of people from all walks of life all over the world, I really feel that our Filipino community are the ones called to lead and love those around us here. After all this is their country! They speak the language and they know their culture on a deeper level. I believe this pandemic, the one where the enemy wanted to isolate and destroy, was actually used for God’s glory abundantly. New ministry and fresh dreams were born from a place of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. This ministry continues to progress and is far from perfect but overall everyone’s intentions here are so pure. I’m thankful to be back.
I arrived Friday afternoon and after tossing my bag inside my room was immediately taken to our new Youth Lab event center. Last time I was here this building was still in construction mode, all you could see was dirt and now there’s an entire building where there once was nothing. It also includes air conditioning! It’s really hot here in the Philippines ya’ll…like really hot. So praise God for air-con!
Here in this community the youth is overflowing. In the midst of the pandemic Youth Lab was born. A program driven to engage youth through serving and communion as they learn more about Jesus. Many lives have been touched and I believe many more will within the years to come. In a community where it’s easy to pursue worldly things God has given a space for youth to gather and set their minds on things above. During my time here I will be engaging in this space for our youth. So many exciting things to come and talk about with this – I can’t wait to tell you all more soon!
My time here will also be spent in our New Faith Children’s Home. This children’s home was founded in 2005 and basically the launch pad for Kids International Ministry. This home cares for orphaned babies all the way up to teenagers. My previous time here I spent many Saturday mornings in the home doting and loving on our babies. This time around I get to spend nearly everyday in the home doing that, among other new endeavors with the youth in the home as well. Please be praying for me as I continue to build relationships in the home and hopefully encourage the caretakers as well. My heart for orphans continues to be one of my biggest heartbeats and I praise God that He knows the deepest desires of our hearts.
There’s just so much more I will be doing here and I can’t wait to chat with you all more about it soon. I no longer have one set ministry throughout the week but I find myself mixing my hands in many things. May He bless my hands and continue to live through me to reach many more. Thank you all for being with me throughout this journey. Stay tuned for more in the following weeks to come. May He reign forevermore in our hearts + may He bless the work of YOUR hands wherever you may be.
Side note…I was able to spend my 22nd birthday here surronded by so many loved ones. I celebrated with a Filipino tradition of sweet spaghetti and hot dogs! He is so so so good to us. With every year passing my love for Him grows sweeter and I didn’t know that was possible!