This is a guest post from our partners, Pastor Edwin and Jo Dueñas in the Philippines, originally published on their website www.geminchrist.org.
Mission work is not ever easy or without struggle. It really takes faith in God to go on mission. Understanding what mission is all about is critical, if not crucial. During our six years on the mission field we have engaged in different kind of missions, but at the heart of everything we do is sharing God's love and His desire to effect eternal change in the lives of his creation.
And that is what we have been doing and have done the past six years: cultivating and affecting change in the lives of indigent families in the Philippines. It was very difficult in the beginning because we have to build up our Circle. The struggle was real and still is, but we pressed on with a good group of people that believe in what God has called us to do.
How do we cultivate change? Simple: as our Circle invests in the ministry God entrusted us with, we invest in relationships with those we minister to. They gave so we give. We invest in all kinds and forms of currency: justice, mercy, grace, love, hope, and forgiveness. The returns of our investment are both temporal and eternal, physical and spiritual. We see lives changed for the better and with a brighter future. Marriages being restored and built up; children finishing their education (some are the first one to do so in their families); feeding the hungry; helping in recovery and rebuilding after a disaster; making disciples of Christ and planting churches.
It is through TRUE GIVING that we speak fluent Christianity.
And so we are so thankful for our Circle who helped us cultivate positive change in the lives of poor families in our community and in various parts of the Philippines.
This year we have cultivated change through various means:
Reached out to 300 families through food relief packs to ease the suffering from loss of work due to the pandemic.
We were limited in feeding children due to the on and off quarantine protocols so we were only able to feed 200 children.
We provided charging stations using generators for two months to our community of 800 plus families while the power was out due to the super typhoon that knocked down provincial power lines.
Blessed 150 provincial pastors with some food packs and financial aids through our ministerial network.
ministered to an average of 50 students PER DAY at the Student Center.
Supported 8 college students and helped one complete her Education Degree.
Bought 10 bicycles for evangelism us through Good News Crew.
Baptized 20 individuals in declaring their faith in Jesus Christ.
Established 3 outreach where we are conducting Bible Studies, Devotions and Worship Service.
Extend the church building to accommodate more seats.
Build swing set and a half-court basketball court.
The Dream Center has become a second home for many of the students that come to avail all services: Student Center, basketball court, swing and the church.
Thanks to our Circle the Dream Center has become a second home for many indigent students as they have each other as their second family.
Transformation and positive changes are evident in these young peoples’ lives. They are serving in the church, learning music instrument so they can play during worship service. They help clean and beautify the yard. They plan and execute our children feeding program and are reaching other youth in our community and neighboring communities.
Our church attendance increased due to the added students coming in and out of the Dream Center daily and as a result we have a total of 20 baptism this year.
MOVING FORWARD IN CULTIVATING CHANGE
We have bought another lot in Pangasinan where we will be opening a Dream Center to reach the youth the same way we did here in Bicol with a goal of transforming young lives by helping them reach for their dreams of completing college education so they can help others.
Our organic farm in Palawan is flourishing and is developing into a training center for indigenous people. We will be teaching organic farming and fish farming; and livestock raising (chicken and pigs). We will be reaching about 15-20 families from indigenous community with the training with a goal of giving them capital to start their own small organic farming. One of the changes we are seriously cultivating is reversing the vicious cycle of poverty.
Another goal we have is to increase our college scholars next year as we see the pandemic dwindling down. We will be providing full scholarship to indigent families that could not afford college education. These students will receive full tuition and allowances and if we can find sponsors for each the better.
We also have started our Bible School with ten students, preparing them to go and plant churches wherever God called them to establish a church. This is a two-year school of mission with strong biblical foundation, practical and biblical in its approach of mission. Pray for these students as they pursue what they believe a calling of God in their lives.
We want to thank our Circle, you know who you are as many of you do not want to be tagged on our social media posts but we want to acknowledge your role and contribution to affecting change and help us cultivate change. Together we will continue to do the four things we do: Disaster Relief, Development, Discipleship, & Mobilization.
We are now fully engaged in cultivating change with various development initiatives to reverse the cycle of poverty and to empower the poor to rise above poverty. If you are not part of our Circle, will you help us “CULTIVATE CHANGE" in indigent communities in the Philippines by donating today?
Our goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of December. So far we have raised $10,390