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December 2016
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It's More Fun in the Philippines!! 5 months and Counting!

You've probably heard the expression 'time flies when you're having fun'?  Here in the Philippines the tourism industry uses the slogan 'It's more fun in the Philippines'. I guess these two things explains why we are shocked at the fact that we are reaching the 5 month mark since arrive in Manila.   

We are so thankful for the prayers and support that we have received from so many churches, women's mission groups, and individuals.  We have felt your prayers and can tell you that they have made a huge difference in our ability to adjust and settle into our new 'normal'.  When we first arrived in Manila we really thought 'normal' was a feeling that we had left behind in Canada but, we can tell you now that, there are times when things feel 'normal'. It's a new normal but one that we grow more comfortable with each and every day.

As you know, Christmas is just a few weeks away and there is no hiding the fact that it will be very different for us this year.  We are looking forward to making new memories and traditions as a family, but we sure are missing our family and friends back in Canada.

We are thankful for new friends and our colleagues who are helping us make this Christmas a meaningful one, and one that we will never forget.  Thank you for remembering us in your prayers during the Christmas season!

Below you will find some pictures and brief updates on our family and our ministry.  Thanks for reading.... 

 

During the recent visit by Sharlene & Brian Craig, our Philippine team took part in a StrengthFinders Assessment.  It was a great evening of learning more about one another's strengths and how we can better work together to accomplish the work that God has called us to!  A special thanks to Brian who facilitated our evening in a fun and casual way!

SCHOOL, SPORTS & MORE

Kyla, Sean, Carter & Allie are doing great!  Faith Academy is a wonderful school that offers so much in the way of academics, sports, band and music, and other extra-curricular activities such as PHAT (an after school 'youth group for middle schoolers).  For the past couple of months all four of the kids have been playing soccer on Saturday mornings.  Sean & Carter (Fireflies), Kyla (Team Fuzzy), and Allie (Jaguars).  They all had a great time and Michael even got involved by coaching Allies team.

We were also recently treated to the Middle School Christmas Band concert.  Kyla has been taking guitar class all semester and her class played three Christmas songs (Kyla even sang a solo in one of the songs).  Sean and Carter have both been taking band class.  Sean plays the Clarinet and Carter is playing the Saxophone.  It is amazing how well they all play their instrument after just 4 months.  

Allie doesn't have the same opportunities yet because she is only in Elementary school but she is being her normal self...super social and making all kinds of great friends.  Most days after school she can be found playing with Ela, her 'kindred spirit' who lives next door to us.

Kyla, Sean, and Carter were also part of a school group called 'Asul' (Blue in Tagalog).  Throughout the semester they had various activities and challenges where they could earn points for their team.  Last week their team was awarded 'CHAMPIONS' for the semester.

HOME SWEET HOME!!

Since arriving in Manila in July, we have been sub-letting a furnished house from a family that has been home in the United States on a 'home assignment'.  During this time we have been busy looking for a suitable home for our family.  It has been a long and stressful process, but we are please to let you know that earlier this week we finalized the terms of our rental agreement and 'WE GOT THE KEYS' (pictured above) to our new home.  We have a few projects to take care of before moving in (mainly just some fresh paint and a few plumbing issues) but we are tentatively planning to move into our new home around January 6th.  We can not tell you how excited our kids are to finally be able to unpack our 'stuff' and start making this house our home (actually, to be honest, we're really looking forward to that too).  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us while we were searching for a home. 

PRAYER & PRAISE

  • Praise God that we have secured permanent housing and will be moving in early January
  • Please pray for our upcoming move into our new home in early January
  • Please pray for us during the Christmas season as it is our first Christmas away from our family
  • Praise God for our children who all did amazing in their first semester at Faith Academy.  We are so proud of them!

Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM),
Roxas & Libas

This past month we had the privilege of hosting Sharlene & Brian Craig for a week.  Sharlene is the Director of Member Care/HR with CBM and her husband Brian, serves as the Director of Leadership Development with the CBOQ.  During their visit we travelled to Roxas, Capiz Province to visit with one of CBM's longstanding partners in the Philippines, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM).  One of the places we visited while in Roxas was the Libas Child Care Center (as seen above in the pictures) which was built with the help and support of CBM.  This child care centre has helped to transform this little fishing community and today there are over 40 children receiving a primary education thanks to the ministry of KPM.

We have been enjoying our visits to Roxas to meet with Job & Phoebe Santiago (KPM Director's - pictured below) and members of their team.  We are looking forward to how God will continue to use the rich relationship between KPM and CBM to serve the people in this part of the Philippines.  Duane and Michael will be travelling to Roxas again in early January to continue working with KPM and their 'Food For Life' group as they explore new ways to address some of the complex issues of rural rice farming .  Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.

CRUIS INC.
Davao, Mindanao 

CRUIS Inc. is an organization that our Colleagues, Emo & Kathy Yango, provide leadership for.  In early November, Duane and Michael were invited to Davao, Mindanao, to spend a few days with four of the CRUIS team members.  

They are exploring an opportunity to start a transformation business that would address some of the community development needs that exist in Mindanao.  It is still to early to share the particulars of this endeavour, but please remember this team in prayer as we continue working together in the New Year.  
MISSIONAL BUSINESS
In partnership with The Missional Business Center (MBC)  CBM has begun the process of developing new training staff and launching new training events in Payatas (poor section of Quezon City, Metro Manila).  In it's entirety, this training will involve over 90 people who will receive business training, which includes help with developing their business plan.
This project is a great example of inter-agency cooperation.  This project also indirectly involves a Philippine organization known as CCT.  The Center for Community Transformation (CCT) is a micro lending group that is funded by Filipino business people and focuses on providing the poor with access to funds for new micro small business startups. CCT has asked MBC to train their members for their expanding work throughout the Philippines.  By working with MBC on this project, CBM is assisting in the development of trainers which will have a direct impact in the lives of several hundred people over the next 12-18 months. 
If you would like to stay up to date with our life and ministry here in the Philippines please consider subscribing to our blog.  Simply click on the button below to visit our blog and then enter your e-mail address to receive our blog updates in your inbox.
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