Thursday, May 30, 2013


Hi All,

Well today was orientation day, we have 18 new students starting today. There were looks of excitement, fear, aw, and all with a little touch of confusion. The day started with the kids learning some of the basic rules of Shofar, then moved on to experimenting with the Rosetta Stone program, and of course the highlight of the day, the computers! It is already obvious that there is some seriously smart students coming in this year, and it will be exciting to watch them learn and grow.

Other then that we are just working on a few projects that we have going, repairing headlights in the multicab, laundry, cleaning, that sort of stuff. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we will be going to the dump tomorrow to visit a ministry down there and as team 1 prepares to leave that we finish well. That’s all I have for now, hope everyone is doing well back home........


The Suzuki 150

Travel to"town " is like a cross country journey on a pack mule.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shofar Work Day

With lists in hand, we headed to our different posts after breakfast and all tackled various tasks today. We organized, painted, fixed doors, went over different inventories, cleaned, did computer tech stuff (which by my "tech stuff" vocabulary---you can tell I know a lot about it---let me just say, I'm very glad that there are people that do :-).... OH --- and Sasha drove the multicab...which turned out very well---I wish I had a picture of that to share. We are gearing up for school and are trying to get as many thing accomplished before school starts---and before we leave next week. I love drawing a line through tasks on my list... and we got to do a lot of that today. It was a great time of working together :-). Sending love to all of you at home.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On the road again...

After a stopover at Jessica's Chicken today, we turn our attention back to finishing up as many projects as possible in our last week here. Please pray for God to extend the time, and that we can remain focused for a strong finish to the trip. Ben

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sa Domingo

Hello friends and family! Today is Sunday evening in the Philippines as you are waking up and heading to church. Today was busy! we went to Church at Freedom in Christ, Ben graced us with his testimony- thousands were saved after it. The Hill's all got the chance to go into the kid's church today and I heard that Rahsaan was teaching the older kids, it must of went ok because no kids came screaming and running out of the kid's room after it got over.

We had the opportunity today to go to Christ Rescue Mission church in Lutopan, Ben and I went with Junrey there for a youth study on the subject of friendship of Jonathan and King David. We were blessed to be able to follow up with the youth after camp was over and reinforce the concepts that they learned throughout camp. We were glad Junrey helped us though because to find the church we had to go through back alley after back alley until we reached the church! The rest of the team stayed back and worked with the Freedom in Christ youth group and did a bible study with them. Games are a huge part of the culture here so in the pictures below you will see the CRM kids playing the cookie on the face game. The object of the game is to slide the cookie down your face from your forehead into your mouth. Apparently this has been done before at Gnosko fellowship group- I am sure it was as hillarious as it was to watch them do it!

We have one week to go here and can't wait to see what else God has in store for us. Pray for the school as we start turning our time and attention to the school starting up again here in a week!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Last day of Shofar Camp

2013 Shofar Camp (not the official photo)

Today was the 4th and final session of the Shofar Youth Camp.  The camp was centered around a video series by David Nassir about the life of King David.  After each video, Pastor Tim would speak for 1/2 hour, then we would break up into our discussion groups for 45 minutes.  There were 66 campers (from 5 different churches) divided into 7 groups.  Some of the kids were here from San Carlos on Negros Island, quite a trip for them to be at a youth camp.  All of the campers, staff, and counselors got matching shirts to wear today.  After the last session, the campers began saying goodbye to each other and us to them as well.  I couldn't believe how close of a bond that can be made between such a diverse group in only 2-1/2 days.  Some tears were shed, and it was good to know that there was impact in their lives.  The end goal was for them to leave here closer to Christ and to take what they learned back with them to their homes, towns, and churches.  
 We had a quick lunch and tore down everything, put it all away, and cleaned.  Tim spent a couple of hours taking the kids (one Jeepney at a time) down the mountain to Lutopan.
 Tomorrow we will head into Lutopan for church to Freedom In Christ.
 We miss you all and look forward to sharing all of the incredible stories with you soon.

Friday, May 24, 2013

King David sessions

Day 2 - Shofar Camp 2013

Camp Games

Connorsville Rules Filipino Volleyball

The camp continued today with more sessions in King David and also a session on purity with a video and small group discussions. Between that there were games including "skit in a minute" with props and topics that was fun to watch and a good game of volleyball. This afternoon's games consisted of running through and completing several tasks two of which included "Fear Factor" (yes screams were involved) and "Building A Path" which involved balancing and transferring ping pong palls to their teammates to form a path to the bucket. The gecko likes to make his presence known during our sessions upstairs which is a fun addition since we don't experience them at home. Today was a good full day for the campers to build relationships in the sessions, in devotions time, through games/team building activities and in fellowship during eating times and tonight's bonfire to cap the night off. Sharon "prepared" some marshmallows for the occasion. The cooks have made some amazing food and tonight's pig was no exception. Pray that camp wraps up well and with it's end nearing that their will be fruit that will remain in the hearts of the campers who go forth from here.


P.S.  Enjoy the sunset from here....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shofar Discipleship Camp...Day 1

Today was challenging and great. We started off the morning getting ready for camp to begin. We finished hanging banners, setting up the stage and sound, putting up tables as well as installing some pretty awesome fans in the cealing of  the classroom at Shofar (ones that pull the heat out of the room---yes! :-).
Registration began at 1:00 and than we all gathered together to look over camp rules and discuss the weekend...and then off to play some fun games with all 63 of our campers---Notice both Brian and Kimchee have a little something hanging from their noses... After games we ate some amazing chicken, rice and beans--made by some of the Philippines best cooks ever---Shofar's camp cooks...finished with a pepsi and than on to our first session of the year's series "King David."

It was great to start to get to know our groups and discuss how David faced the giant Goliath---and how with God we can face our giants too.

Missing you all---but loving the experience and people and stretching and encouragement that this trip has brought and continues to bring.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"So long, have a great time in Cebu City!"

Today we went for a drive to Cebu City, and along the way we met a few kind-eyed construction workers (see above) who were happy to assist in getting us to our destination.. The main reason for the trip was to pick up some much needed supplies for the upcoming Youth Camp. For the next three days Shofar will host 60+ Filipino youth's for our annual discipleship camp. Please pray for this event - God has blessed us with an incredible opportunity to touch the lives of many people this weekend. Ben

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

School open house and diagnostic test day

Today was enrollment day and open house. Shofar Learning will have close to 50 students this year. Sixteen students tested today and they were mostly 3rd graders. Some were siblings of present students. Our team took part by correcting the tests.
I love to see the kids excited about attending our school. We are starting to see fruit from what God has given us to do. This is why we are here, and we have seen a change in the kids lives because of their christian education.
I'm thankful to be a part of this up close, but this would not be possible without everyone involved, even if they never come to the Philippines. Your prayer for this ministry and the kids is the most important thing they need. If you sponsor, remember to pray for them often. Going to school here is not as easy as it is back home, there's no parent driving them to school on their SUV, no place to buy lunch, no sports team....just pure learning. School starts in about two weeks. Pray for the teachers also, with God as the head master.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Good thing Becky Karl ain't here

Monday Shofar workday

Hello to all! Our Monday was spent as a workday preparing for the Shofar open house tomorrow. School starts in a few weeks. Since there are openings for more students, many last minute preparations happened today so that parents can see all that the school has to offer.
Some tasks today included painting walls and doors, fixing lights and fans, organizing, cleaning, repairing desks, moving tables to different rooms, some yardwork, sweeping, and mopping. Tomorrow morning should be busy, but it will be nice to meet parents of potential students at the school.
So many big projects are in play here, including the new desks that our caretaker has built. They are ready for the new school year as of yesterday! He is truly a talented handyman.
You can't realize how many people spend countless hours working to make all of this possible, our little missions group is a drop in the bucket to the amount of toil it takes to make this stuff happen here. Sometimes it appears like the missions teams come here to do all the work and you may never know what happens here the other 10 months of the year. The pastors (and wives!), the staff, elders, the local workers (including caretaker, board members, teachers, etc...) are part of this year-round and it isn't part time for many of them. Please be part of the big picture with your prayers and support.
I will say that it has been busy, challenging, hot, and smelly, and with the added bonus of 13 hours of jet lag to boot. But at this moment, I wouldn't trade any of it for the experience I am having to have my little part in God's plan.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday church

Pastor Tim and Pastor Lando preaching.......and Tigger too

Sunday update from the Shofar Team

The last few days have been busy and fun here on the other side of the world handing out fliers in several areas for Shofar with the open house/testing going on this week. We split up into teams to distribute them with our Filipino friends to help assist.

We have been cleaning up around here at Shofar in prep for the youth camp/school year coming up and held the leadership retreat this past weekend to help train and prepare those taking on the leadership role at youth camp. A few different churches were represented. There will be nine groups for the 63 students coming. It was great getting to know these guys and sharing meals with them as well. Speaking of food us newbies are enjoying this food aspect from the lumpia, to chicken manok and pork tocino. We will be adding them to our favorite recipes upon our return home.

Today after a brief delay with pumping up the new tire that needed air already we drove on down to Freedom in Christ (FIC) in Lutopan for church. Rahsaan was able to share his testimony there. Us newbies got to participate in the kids church in back which was split into two groups right next door to each other, the younger set and a bit older ones. The kids were a joy and it was a good experience for us!

We enjoyed lunch with Lando, Evelyn and Avegail and got to try another food, pancit. Afterwards we had youth group, a study and then some fun with games. We brought back a Gnosko hit, the cookie on forehead to mouth game. Much laughter ensued as many cookies fell to the floor (for the dog who was eagerly waiting) and some made it to their mouths.

We're very much looking forward to our upcoming adventures and we'll be keeping you posted. Till now it's goodnight from the Philippines and Good morning for our friends in the States.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some Pics

We are Here!

Hello All-

After 24 hours of Planes, trains and automobiles we made it to Cebu! After spending the night in a hotel and then some shopping headed up the mountain to Shofar. Things have changed around here! for those of you who have been here before you would notice the change in greenry its like the garden of Eden up here now! New trees and flowers.

We had Lando, Evelyn and Nathan over for dinner and had more food than we could handle! Evelyn of course brought her A game with her world famous Lumpia and Biko.

For those new to the Philippines this year there were lots of ooohs and ahhs and the realization, oh man it is hot here and oh man it is humid here! it hits you as soon as you get off the plane in fact. As we drove through the city we are easily reminded that the world does not live like we do, there are lots of people without permanment homes or have very little for a home.

Well we can't wait to see what God has planned for us in the few weeks and are looking forward to all that he is about to do. Pray for our hearts to be completely open and looking for everything he wants to do in us and through us.

And yes... Israel did make it hear although we almost left her in South Korea....

God bless!

Sasha and Israel