Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chan makes way to Manipis...

Friday we made our way into Manipis High school and were able to show Francis Chan "Stop And Think." It was a great opportunity and another great experience for all of us. Three of us spoke on different topics that would be a lead way to the video. Having the focus be to get their minds rolling with ideas and leaving Chan to finish the rest.
The most exciting part of this adventure was the walk up the mountain to the school during the rain, seeing the Philippines at its finest! See Eric seems to think so...
I enjoy the opportunities we have been given, to be apart of the people and to interact with them in a way that will forever be a memory. You see the people and ask God to give them the opportunity that He has given us, to know and to be apart of this great adventure! As I looked around it was clear that the minds were rolling in certain students, that's the part that makes me wonder. Yes, salamat...this is very cool!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm locked up, won't let me out...

Hello everyone back in cheese country. The weather here is more predictable than in Wisconsin. It rains almost everyday. If it is cooler in the morning but yet clear enough to see the other islands, that means it will be a hot and sunny day, but that's as far as I can predict on the weather. The resent rain has made the road nearest to shofar kind of tricky and I feel like we are going muddin' every time we go to the jail.
By the way, the jail has been awesome. Every Wednesday and Friday, we make about an hour and a half trip to Toledo City on the western coast of Cebu. We park under a huge bamboo tree. If you get too close to this thing, it will growl at you and thousands of little ants will visit you. Pastor Lando and Evelyn translate for us almost everytime we go into jail. I think Pastor Lando is a little bit like Pastor Tim because he refuses to ride with us, rain or shine. He insists on taking his motorcycle.
Tiff, Sasha, and I(Lauren) have gotten to know the 3 women in jail really well. They remember the people from past teams and ask how you all are doing. The men's Bible study is packed with around 50-60 men. Both the men and women are asking questions of justification and comparing what they believe to the Bible. We consider it a blessing to go into this jail and have seen the relationships and connections that were already established before we even got there this year.
Love you guys and miss you. Until the next time we blog....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Greetings from Shofar! Here we are, finishing up the weekend. We have had a busy weekend, filled with various different activities.

Here we have Erik and Jonah, cutting one of the many boards which will become part of our playground. They guys worked on this on Saturday afternoon.

These two pictures are at Spring Park Resort, which is where the school's parent meeting took place on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning. The above picture is of Teacher Jayne speaking to the parents. The picture below is of some students who tagged along with their parents.

Other activities of the weekend included Discipleship class, kid's church (for us girls), and youth group on Sunday. During youth group we played the game Mafia, not to be confused with facebook mafia game. It is a role-playing game filled with murder and trying to figure out who the mafia are. Jonah, Justin, and Junrey ended up being the mafia- imagine that! We all had a great time playing it. We also did our bi-weekly shopping trip in downtown Lutopan- which made Justin very happy- pork tocino is on the menu this week!
Well, until next time,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Last Saturday, most of us spent time working on painting Shofar. The focus was mostly on the second story. There was some cleanup to do because of extra concrete left behind when the 3rd story (the school) was completed. Since no two containers of paint are necessarily the same color here, we mixed several containers together to ensure a consistant color on the building... Between brushes and rollers we were able to get most of the backside of Shofar finished...

As the schoolyear continues to progress, we are focusing on lesson plans with the teachers, student records, discipline, grading, and the rest. This Friday and Satruday, we are meeting with all the Shofar Learning parents and teachers. We're going to talk with them about school policies and have a chance to let them know what has been happening with their children...

We once had months remainging here in the Philippines, but now it's counted in weeks... We sat down tonight as a team to spend some serious time planning out the next few weeks. With the school here at Shofar, ministry at jail and with the youth, and the various projects we get to do, it is a very busy but worthwhile time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shofar Update

So it's time for the bi-weekly blog update. The weeks seem to be getting shorter and shorter as the summer goes on. I think we will all be shoveling snow soon...   This past week I believe we passed the half way point of the trip... Hard to believe huh?

It has been a pretty rainy week at Shofar, whether that is because of the typhoon that hit Manilla or just because it's the rainy season I'm not sure. It has gotten cool enough where some of us have been wearing a long sleeved shirt in the evening.

Being that it is Saturday we have been busy working on some projects.  This morning the posts were all put up for the playground that is being built for the school.  The kids are all very excited to see the playground come together.  Now that the foundation is down and the posts up we can start building the frame for the little house and then putting the roof up. It seems like there is a lot left to finish on that but we think the work will go faster now that the foundation is laid.

  There are a couple of new doors being installed on our outside CR's as well.  The new doors are made out of wood, where the old ones were plastic.  They should look nice once the work is all done and should be a bit more durable as well.

Lastly here is a picture of Kabong and Jungo... They make any blog post better..

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going down the other side of the Mountain...

Maayong Hapon blog followers! Well its been a busy last few days for us here. As Justin previously posted we now have the footings for the playground in, its exciting to see the playground start to take shape! Friday afternoon we officially opened the Shofar Sari-Sari. For those of you who are not familiar with the word Sari-Sari, this is a small village store that sells snacks and other staple items. The Shofar Sari-Sari is the place to use Shofar Pesos. Shofar Pesos are the play money that is handed out during the day to students from a teacher who show good behavior and are a good example to the other kids. The Shofar Sari-Sari "sells" various items including; pencils, notebooks, pencil cases and candy. The kids can save their pesos to "buy" bigger items later. There was much excitement from the kids when the Sari Sari opened and can't wait until it's open again, which is every Friday on breaks and lunch.

So how has the last few days been for us you wonder?
Sunday we had church, The girls are still going into the children's church to teach every Sunday and it has been a huge blessing to us all just to see them grow and learn more about their faith each Sunday. Sunday afternoon brought another session with the church's youth group. Erik and I (Sasha) taught on God's Kingdom-Rule and Relationship. We split up into two groups and went over several discussion questions. As always youth group would not be complete without a few games! this week we introduced the chair game. The chair game consists of holding hands in a circle and pushing and pulling each other to touch the chair in the middle. If you touch the chair in the middle you are out and the circle grows smaller. It got a little out of hand at some parts but overall we all decided it was a fun game and it made for good exercise.

Yesterday the six of us got up early and drove down to Cebu City to renew our visas (Can you believe its the halfway point already?!?!) Apparently getting around with six people isn't as easy as one would think but we did make it to the Bureau of Immigration and got our visas renewed. We also caught a wonderful movie while waiting at the Visa office, "Species" left us wanting to see "Species II". Moving on, no trip to Cebu City is complete without a trip to Starbucks and to get some comfort food like fries and pizza. After several crazy driving experiences, including being packed into a few taxis like sardines, and Tiffany fulfilling her lifelong dream of riding in a petticab and mine of riding on a motorcycle, we carried our purchases such as a skilsaw and a ladder back to the multi cab. What a day.

We are working on getting the school ready to run on its own by the time that we leave. There is a lot more work to be done before we leave this island and we appreciate all the prayer for wisdom and to finish the work that we have started. Love you all!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Construction, heat and cement bags...

Well were off, the Shofar Learning centers kids amusement park is coming soon! today we poured the cement pillars for the "house" and tomorrow we will be digging a trench surrounding Shofar for the lazy river!! NO, NO I'm jokin! No lazy river! We did get the pillars poured today with help from Lando and the guys and it went well. It was a long day for all of us we started early this morning and with the mixture of sweat and cement dust it made it all worth it! The girls took on painting the Shofar Learning signs that will go at the split down the drive from Shofar and the other sign will be posted at the bottom of the hill at camp 7 directing up to Shofar. With the long morning we took on, us guys sure worked up an appetite. I think the girls planned for the whole youth group being there which wasn't planned and didn't happen but the amount of rice said otherwise. I think we will be eating that same rice for the next three days...( which isn't a bad thing, I think we can all agree that rice is up there with coffee at this point). It's a good thing you can eat the same rice in three different way's! ha figure that one out!
Thank you for continuing to pray for us we need your prayers. God is still directing, teaching, growing we have little time left with much ahead of us...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

God Filled Weekend

Saturday Night Lights: Pila Edad mo? That was a common phrase that Tiffany, Sasha, and I said to about 20-30 children who gathered around us as the guys were shooting hoops down the karsadaha at the basketball court in Cabanbanan. We were greeted by many faces and once the children found out we had popcorn, there was no escaping. We played hand games with them like: (give me 5, up high, on the side, on the other side, down low, too slow). As I was playing that with one kid, about 5 joined in on the experience and then they were all jumping up high and to the side. A few people will appreciate this: the kids at Shofar Learning and now the kids down the street also know (high 5, lama) and (high 5, turkey turkey, gobble, gobble). They love doing that, I wouldn't be surprised if the High 5 Lama and Turkey swept the nation.

While us girls were being kids, the guys played basketball with the big boys and then it turned into a full court b-ball game. They were flying back and forth across the court, passing, dunking, running, and sweating. After the game, we watched a movie in Cebuano and passed out the popcorn that was so eagerly accepted. What a night!

Sunday Funday: The fun did not stop there however. Sunday, Justin taught discipleship class in the morning, followed by us girls teaching kid's church in the back room of the church. After service, some of the team hung out with their mentoree's for the summer, between church and youth group. Then Justin and I taught youth group and we ended the study with charades. Don't let them fool you, Filipinos do an excellent job at charades. The day was full of difficultly, discussions, and challenges. Yet it was one of the best days here, filled with fellowship, laughter, and most of all, GOD!
We are keeping you guys in prayer and miss all of you. Please pray that we don't grow weary of doing good and for unity within the group. Love ya's:)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Just Another [Satur]Day in Paradise

Its Saturday afternoon here at Shofar Mission Center and, having an open day, we are working on a variety of different things. Earlier this afternoon, Sasha, Erik and I took a walk to the basketball court of the closest barangay to ask about setting up the projector and watching a movie. So this evening, we will be popping popcorn, and settling in to watch a movie in Cebuano.
So what else have I done on this fine Saturday so far? Well I made fried egg sandwiches with Eden cheese for breakfast with my breakfast buddy Jonah. After doing laundry and burning garbage, I went to work on my newly acquired skill of deboning a chicken in preparation for tonight's supper of Sweet and Sour Chicken.
The picture above is one I took on our recent walk. Its our island, the ocean, and the next island over. This must be why they call it paradise.
I wanted to show you part of our recent buy in Ceby City...TEXTBOOKS! "One Country One People" is the Filippino History, "Yaman ng Pamana" is Tagalo language book, and "The Basics of Better Family Living" is a Home Ec book, which as complete info on everything from roles of different family members, sewing, cooking, and self care (good hygiene).
Notice in the background of the picture, is one of two newly bought whiteboards, complete with dry erase markers (in three colors) and an eraser. So many school supplies, like this one, that I took for granted in America, are hard to find here. I will say that I have been completely blessed to have, after working in a school in America, have the opportunity to open a school in the mountains of the Philippines.
But ok...back to our Saturday: Here is Lauren and Justin working (no, not on marriage workbook), but on preparing for youth group tomorrow afternoon.
Here is Jonah hard at work, looking over a possible playground blueprint. We (and the kids) are excited to start digging ground, but there is much preliminary work still- please keep this project in your prayers all summer!
Last but not least, we have Sasha and Erik grommetting without a grommet tool. You may have heard about the curtain project from the short term team- who did a great job cutting, glueing, and setting us up for continued work. Since the school is open air, there is a chance that rain could get in from the sides. So the perimeter of it will now have these roll down vinyl curtains to protect the school. There are 14 total curtains, and each of those curtains needs atleast 12 grommets, which will allow us to tie them down. Right now, I hear the pounding of curtain #11, so three more to go!
Magkita na lang ta!