Friday, March 24, 2017

Sweet Summertime

Hi everyone! Last week God gave us a few pockets of time to hang out with people that we've developed friendships with over the past four months. On Saturday we had a college student over for a movie and popcorn (after she finished a week of exams...whew!) and last night we caught up with friends for dinner. We're really thankful to have those opportunities before we leave for a little while. As we continue preparing to go, God has also been keeping us focused on the mission at hand and giving us the strength to keep going.

Last weekend we reconnected with the director of Shelter and she invited us to join her for church on Sunday. While we were there, we talked to a few youth leaders and invited them to Shofar Camp. We also found out that some of the staff live and work in a couple locations very near to us... we are pretty much neighbors! We're looking forward to getting to know them better as time goes on.

Summer is in full swing here - temps are hotter, bugs are bigger, and the chatter of kids can be heard up and down the street. There has been a lot more activity in our neighborhood, which we have been trying to take advantage of as much as possible. Whether it's walking to the sari sari store for a snack or trying to talk to some of the kids as they zoom by on their bikes, we are continually reminded of the fact that God specifically put us in this neighborhood.

On Wednesday, we were invited back to CIM to lead a bible study and discussion. We went through session one of Tim Keller's Gospel in Life series, which was really timely and applicable for the students that were there. We talked about how God send the exiles to Babylon for the good and growth of the city. We related it back to Cebu City and how God has called each of us to this place, not to separate ourselves from it, but to invest ourselves in it and "root for the city."

On Friday night, we attended our first Filipino college graduation ceremony! Sarah, one of the new WOTS writers, graduated from Baptist Theological College and we're super excited to see what God has planned next for her! Please keep her in your prayers as she adjusts to post-college life and figuring out what God wants her to do. The guest speaker at the ceremony asked everyone to raise their hand - "Look at your hand. It's your hand. 27 bones that God has given to you. What are you going to do with it? Use that hand to touch the world!" We were greatly encouraged to see 16 young people graduating and being sent out to serve God in huge ways in the world. And we all get to join with them. You've got a hand right? USE IT!

Thanks for all your prayers... God is working in big ways over here and even though you're not with us physically, you're with us through Him. See you soon!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Maayo!!

The count down to our departure has began but there is a lot to do before then! 
Last week, we had the opportunity to talk about Shofar and Word on the Street at Baptist Theological College during chapel! A student from BTC shadowing with the magazine also spoke about being a part of the magazine.  We visited another med school's campus ministry Friday evening as well.  God continues to go before us as we continue reaching out to university students and promoting Shofar Youth Camp.
We completed module 3 in our Cebuano Lessons and are taking a short break from class.  We have been busy with various administrative and tech tasks as we continue to prepare for the team to arrive!  I have learned a bit more about technology than I thought I would :).  While working on tech updates I calculated how many were left to update, how long it took for one update and how many hours it should take plus additional time for issues that come up...perhaps a sign I am either well on my way to becoming a geek!  
The garden continues to grow and we are looking forward to enjoying fresh veggies from it!  As always thanks for praying for us and we look forward to seeing and spending time with everyone soon!


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Welcome to SLM Nightly News

WEEK 19

Hola...err....wait, wrong language. Maayo! 

Last week we hit the ground running with our weekly bible study. On Wednesday, we met with a Campus Crusade missionary who wants to partner with WOTS in distributing magazines on campuses. He and his wife got involved with CCC when they lived in Manila, then were sent to Cebu to outreach. He biked over to our office so we bonded over that and photos of their two dogs. We are excited to see what other doors God will open through this connection!

On Wednesday night we attended PAW Nyt (Praise Adoration Worship) at MCF. Nearly 100 high school and college students pack the room every Wednesday night to play games, worship, listen to a teaching, and share their lives together. I'm thankful that we got to peek into this tight-knit community and see young leaders growing in service. We also had some good old fashioned fun with loud music and ice breaker games before the night got started. We hope some of these youth will be able to attend Shofar Camp in May.

Speaking of camp...we took another trip across the island last weekend. This time, Dyreen, one of our WOTS writers and a camp counselor from last year, joined us. We left bright and early Saturday morning, visited churches and barangay halls along the way, and even detoured up to Balamban for a bit. We hit at least 15 churches with a variety of camp, radio, tv, and medical posters. We ended our Saturday with dinner at Jim Young's house. He has played a huge role in connecting churches on the west side of the island and helping register youth for camp, so we were really thankful to meet up with him. On Sunday morning we went to church at VOZ, a church that sent about 15 youth to camp last year. We reconnected with a few familiar faces and invited them back again this year. We consummated the weekend with lunch at Jessica's. She's doing well and still makes the best lumpia I've ever had :) Overall it was a great trip; thanks for praying for us. We could feel it.

This week was off to a lively start as we Skyped in to give the announcements at Street Level Menomonie. Not only did we feel like an edition of NBC nightly news as Felty rolled us away on the A/V cart, but we also confused one of the new students... "who was that?" Haha... We are looking forward to reconnecting with the crew back home for a Monday night :)

This week we are trying to finish up some odds and ends especially since we are about a month away from departure. We've also got a meeting set up with another campus ministry at a different med school. 

Thanks for praying for us. We are praying for you guys, too. See you soon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Welcome to Spring in the Philippines

We gave him a proper burial...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Maayong Buntag o Gabii!

Kumusta  The past couple of weeks have continued to be busy as we continue preparing for Shofar Camp and the team to arrive. 
We continue to meet on Tuesday evenings at Kanna Coffee for a weekly Bible Study.  For the Valentine's Day study a couple of our regular attenders brought an island snack and doughnuts.  We are enjoying getting to know the group of ladies a bit more as well as the staff at Kanna. 
We also had an opportunity to join the River Falls crew by Skype and share about what God is doing here in Cebu and a bit of how we got here.
As noted above the time before the team arrives is approaching fast so we have been busy with things that need to happen here before they arrive. 
We took a short break to rest and hit the ground running this week as we got back into the swing of things with Cebuano Class, a BS at CIM, and Everlasting Hope. We ended the week by joining the Ministry Community Retreat for three sessions by Skype.
This evening we went for a short walk and had the opportunity to talk with one of our neighbors and hang up a camp poster while stopping for saging.  We met her daughter and learned that she spends her days drawing.  I had a picture of a bird I drew recently so she showed us her drawings as well then.  Please pray that we would be able to get to know her better and maybe even draw with her.

Laura & Brittany

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Unsay Imong Crush?

Dear everyone,

Last week was full of meetings and planning as we continued to prepare for the team to come in May. Word about Shofar Camp is starting to spread and we've even heard from a few youth that want to attend. On Saturday, we met with someone who played a huge role in the administrative tasks of the camp last year. She offered a lot of insight from her experience last year and is more than willing to help with the behind-the-scenes work again. We can't wait to see what God will do through camp this year!

A lot of exciting things are happening in WOTS right now! It has always been a challenge to get  everyone together in one place, so last week was the start of our weekly service nights. Most of the writers have expressed the desire to meet together, so we are praying that everyone's schedules will align and traffic will be light (we can dream, right?). We also have two college students shadowing in the magazine this issue, which is really exciting! Both contacts were from a campus visit that happened last year with Team 1. Please pray for these two as they step forward in ministry...our enemy never likes that.

On Sunday morning, we were given a warm welcome at Orchids' church. They asked us to present Shofar Camp and we even got to meet some youth that are interested in attending. After the service, the church broke up into cell groups and discussed the sermon for about 20 minutes. It was neat to join one of the groups and get to know them better.

God continues to work out the details of each day as we step forward in obedience and service. Things don't usually go as we plan, but we can rest assured that it's how He planned. He continues to surprise us as doors open and close and relationships grow. Thanks for praying for us; we can feel it.

Sincerely,
Team Cebu

P.S. we asked our language teacher how to break the ice with students at camp. She said we should joke with them and ask "Unsay imong crush?" ("Who is your crush?"). Not only will they laugh because you're speaking Cebuano, but they also love joking around this way! :)

Monday, February 06, 2017

Monday, Feb. 6, 2017

Since our last update one of our tasks included an overnight trip stopping at Cantabaco, Spring Park, Lutopan, and ending in Toledo. We visited churches, Barangay Halls, and other locations leaving posters and talking with pastors about Shofar Camp. We also had the opportunity to bring Shofar Radio posters and other information for outreaches that the team will do in May. Orchids, one of the WOTS writers, was able to come along for the adventurous weekend. It was great getting to know her better and a great opportunity to speak some Cebuano with her!

Otherwise, God continues to go before us and order our days and weeks. This last week we had the opportunity to attend the NCC Thursday night bible study and catch up with those guys again! It was a great study and as usual just what we needed. Friday evening provided an opportunity to fellowship with a Young Pro Group at a local church. We ended the week with a WOTS gathering to launch Issue 70. It's also the start of weekly service nights at the office on Sunday evenings. We hope that meeting on a weekly basis will create unity within the group.

We look forward to what God will continue to do here! Please pray for the missions team preparation work - specifically camp and that we would be able to connect with campus ministries!