Monday, May 30, 2011

Shofar Learning Open House!!!

It was an exciting day today! ... well wait, lets begin with what yesterday brought us. We got to spend time with the youth group of Freedom in Christ. We are studying a video series with them called "Keep Climbing," and yesterday marked the first of a four part series. At the end of the study, we played a fun game where different groups needed to come up with as many songs as possible with the word "love" in it, then they needed to sing some lyrics from the song and the group with the most original songs won...let me tell you Filipinos love to sing!!!

We also said "goodbye" to Jones and Ben, they are now living in an apartment in Lutopan or what we affectionately refer to as "Topes". Two bachelors living together in a small one room concrete apartment with only facilities for bucket showers...hmmmm should be interesting to hear some of the stories they will have at the end of this trip.

Today! We opened Shofar Learning up to the public for an open house. Those who are interested in sending their children to Shofar were able to come in, meet the teachers and aids as well as view 2 different presentations. One presentation spoke about the ins and outs of the school, such as curriculum, what is provided and what is expected etc. The other presentation demonstrated the Rosetta Stone software that teaches the children both English and Tagalog. They also were able to view Google Earth on the big flat-screen TV as well as the new digital microscopes...they were able to magnify a dead bee and some different plants. It was great to talk with parents and the children in my broken Cebuano and their broken (but better than my Cebuano) English.

After all of that we were treated to some fan bananas...OK, so if you never had these, you need to try them. They are amazing!!! They take bananas, cut them so they fan out, dip them in batter, fry them and then coat them in sugar...DELICIOUS!!!

At the end of the day the guys continued to work on the CR's and study for the youth camp we will be having this upcoming Thursday, Friday and Saturday...pray for us!!!!

With love from the Philippines!


Saturday, May 28, 2011


Hi All,

Well today the team is preparing to head to church at Lando's. After church we begin our Keep Climbing series with the youth (pray for us) this will the first of four sessions. Afterwards we will be rushing back to shofar to finish up some projects for the open house tomorrow.

Yesterday Tim, Sharon, Mike and Sheena went to Cebu to do grocery shopping as well as pick up other materials for our projects around Shofar. One of the materials needed was a few 2x10 boards to finish the CR. When Tim picked them up they were half trees basically that took 3 Filipinos to carry, so object lesson here is when ordering wood make sure you see it before you pay for it.

Also yesterday Ben and I worked on actually constructing the CR, which we had no idea of how to do, so after at least a hour of debating whether we could do it or not, we decided to just start cutting wood and hopefully it would come to us, and to our surprise it did. In my opinion God took pity on us :-). Andrea and Laura primarily worked on painting the signs that lead up to Shofar, after one year they looked pretty bad. Jones went down to Toledo to work on his new apartment, then came back up and gave us a hand with the CR. Well that's all I have for today, until next time.......Rahsaan.

OH!!! P.S. The Centipedes here are the size of Snakes!!!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Can you tell me from where the wind blows?

Well we are in the middle of preparations for the start of the school year on June 6. Yesterday we held a meeting with the Shofar teachers and aides to plan for the school open house on Monday. We also did some painting and cleaning to make the school more welcoming to parents. Please pray that we get a good response to the flyer routes we did on Thursday, and that we can find ~10 more students to enroll at Shofar Learning for the 2011-2012 school year.

Today we are starting preparation for the youth camp next weekend. Yesterday the wind kicked up pretty good and some rainy weather appears to be looming. We are building outhouses today and expecting a 20'x40' foot tent to be set up on Wednesday. Please pray that the weather holds (On a sidenote, braving rain and wind on the top of a mountain might serve as a good object lesson for the kids as we show Francis Chan's "Courage" series...) and that we are able to have the camp outside as planned.

Other goings on's is that we did some other painting yesterday. The girls touched up some of the road signs that direct people how to get to Shofar, while the guys painted the interior of the guard's house. Both projects will continue today.. Jones and I a hobble-hobble rides (think "small motorbike taxi service") up and down the mountain to Lutopan. For those that have been here before - if you were amazed by how many Filipino's can fit on one motor bike at the same time, I tell you that the Filipino's were equally amazed at the site of two huge Americans and one (brave) Filipino driver riding by... In seriousness, Jeremy is working hard on securing a place to live for the next two months and it looks like moving day will be tomorrow. Please pray for him as he plans for that and immerses himself into the native lifestyle for the next few months.

Alright! Until next time...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Off the Beaten Path

Strap on a sidebag, tighten up your Chacos, pack extra electrolytes and walk... for 6 hours straight. Today the team split up into 3 groups and hit the streets, mountains cliffs and paths to hand out invitations and information about Shofar Learning Center. Monday will be our open house, inviting parents and students from all the neighboring towns to come to Shofar, see the school and learn about what we're doing up here on the mountain.

Ben and I headed to Loay and down through Camp 7 with Junrey and had the chance to meet many people, got invited in to sit and talk, and spent 10 minutes under an awning of a house waiting for the downpour to pass and talking with a family there.

Andrea, Mike and Erline headed to Lutopan with brochures in hand. They loved being able to meet and talk with people where they live. They were invited into their houses and were blown away by people's hospitality.

Sheena, Rahsaan and Job started walking in Camp 8... and we haven't seen them since. Just kidding, they ventured down a mystery "shortcut" and found lots of people who were interested in the school. They loved the adventure of starting on a trail and seeing where it would lead.

Jones worked all day today getting the new Shofar Learning netbooks ready for action, and Tim and Sharon zipped around buying supplies, hanging banners and handing out school info.

In the days to come we'll be doing cleaning, teacher meetings, and prep for the school open house and for the youth came the following weekend.

It's been an amazing blessing to see God in every aspect of what's been going on here the last couple of days. We're really busy but also enjoying each other and having a great time. We're so thankful for all the prayers and support from all of you. We're praying for you too.

Magkita ta for now!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going... Going...Gone

Well, with all the preperation we traveled half way across the world to the Island that God has called Jesus Fellowship to to minister.

It was a long journey but with drugs all things are possible...wait no...well kind of but not all things. Just sleeping on the plane when you've slept for 10 hours already. The trick is to sleep through the whole flight so that you 1. Are not tired when you arrive and 2. 16 hours of waiting goes by.

For some of us (Tim and Sharon not included cause they come here all the time) we have returned to do it all again. From Minneapolis to L.A. 4 hrs, from L.A. to Hong Kong 14.40 hrs, and from Hong Kong to Cebu 2.40 hrs = 21.20 hrs of pure travel.

After arriving we changed our monies, piled our bags in the Jeepney, and then piled ourselves in. From the airport we went to SM mall in Cebu and met Avegail (Freedom in Christ [FIC] Youth group leader) to go over the schedule for the camp. Some also shopped for food that we will need for a couple of days.

Then it was to Shofar to unload the bags and have a smile...then eat...then have a was a long trip. Some gave up jobs, friends, comfort, and even children to be here. How amazing that we are here and that our small Church is who God (the Creator of the Universe) is using to do these great things.

"But I go out as a missionary not that I may follow the dictates of common sense, but that I may obey that command of Christ, 'Go into all the world and preach.' He who said 'preach,' said also, 'Go ye into and preach,' and what Christ hath joined together let not man put asunder." -James Gilmour-

-Jeremy Jones-

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Small Hours

It's hard to believe that in under 24 hours we'll be on a plane headed back to Cebu. A lot can change in 3 years and, no doubt, has. The addition of a school and the continuing expansion & updating of the mission center for starters (the second floor rooms were made of amockin the last time we were there). It's hard to know exactly what to expect, except the unexpected -- sure, we've prepared, planned, and prepared some more, but the unfolding of all that happens next belongs to God. I'm excited to get the chance to return to Shofar, to see old friends left behind, and to have a chance to contribute more to the work that God is doing on Cebu; and I am particularly looking forward to the youth camp (it will be the first time that I have gotten to be a part of it). There is a lot that I'm pumped for in the next couple of weeks, but for now, I had better make sure that I packed enough deodorant...otherwise the team might not like me too well.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The bags are packed, but the “I just need to do one more thing” keeps me remembering that I’ll never be completely ready to go to this great country. The check lists get crossed off completely and new ones start. The preparations that started over a year ago are now coming to an exciting beginning.

Now it’s go time; time to see old friends and make new ones, to be stretched further than I think I can be by God, to know Jesus better, to love others, to teach and be taught. Where will God lead? What dark trenches of my heart will be battled? What adventure awaits? All I can do is trust God- what a wonderfully comforting thought that is!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Ready

Bug spray -- Check
Sunscreen -- Check
Mesquito Net -- Check
Protein Bars -- Check
Etc -- Check

I'm pretty sure that after the 5th time we have gone through the things we are bringing ... this last time with Carrie and Ryan (I was laughed at at how many protein bars we're bringing; I like protein...and we'll share :-)...we should be set...I think, I hope...I am confident, however, that God will provide where I lack, not just in the things that we bring but in my abilities. I'm looking forward to growing in my relationship with Him, deepening my dependance on Him and growing in relationships with all of those on the team!

All of our things are not quite packed...everything is layed out ready to go, but not quite in the bags...that's our plan tonight. We will be rolling clothes, stashing protein bars and giving the bags the ... "uhhh you think this is under 50 pounds? Rahsaan lifting" test.

Anticipation...I'm super excited to see the Island in person, see and meet the people and feel the heat...all of which I have only seen in pictures and heard of in stories. I'm very excited to see what God does in and around us. Needless to say I'm excited!!!

Please pray for all of us...
Annie and I are so excited for this upcoming trip. Time has moved sooo fast though, it seems like it was just yesterday that we had 3 months to prepare, now we have 3 days. WOW!!!!! Please pray for us that what ever God has to teach us that our hearts and minds will be open to recieve it. Also please pray for the team as a whole as it looks like we will be hitting the ground running (nothing new from what I hear) but pray for us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Welcome to the Shofar Missions Blog 2011...


The first team leaves 26 minutes from one week from now. That's only 11,106 minutes away! (I won't mention how many dog minutes that is....) Preparations are going well thus far. Time seems to have sped itself up to where multitasking has been rendered ineffective. Dual-multitasking has become the new multitasking. Please pray for us as we make our final preparations for departure this week. Some names of people to pray for: Tim & Sharon, Mike & Sheena, Rahsaan & Andrea, Jeremy, Laura S, and Ben M.

I will now list a few of the things we will be doing... We are hosting the 2nd Annual Shofar Youth Camp for Christian Discipleship (on the Shofar grounds!), recruiting new students for Shofar Learning Center, preparing the school for the start of the upcoming school year, going into the Toledo City and possibly Talisay jails, working with the Freedom In Christ youth group, etc...

This will be my first (ad)venture into a foreign missions field. I've heard a lot of what to expect, but I expect that it will pale in comparison to the real thing. So I'm excited to see, smell, hear, taste, and touch the Filipino culture. I also look forward to being a part of what God is doing there. Please pray for the work we'll be doing and for the work God will do in us.