Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sing-along with Shofar

This morning it was nice to have breakfast together as a full team. Big family meals are some of my favorite times! We often split into groups and go various directions during the course of a day, so it it always great to start out the day as a full team where we can break bread together, pray together & prepare for the day ahead.

During ALT class today, we were able to share a "Sing-along" video that the Junior room kids back home made for the Shofar students introducing themselves and teaching a Bible song. It was a neat way that the Junior room kids could take part in this year's trip. The Shofar students loved it and made a video in return that we look forward to sharing with the Junior room kids upon our return.

After ALT class, a group of us headed into the city for the weekly Thursday night Bible study and some vehicle repairs while the remainder of the team stayed back at Shofar to hold down the fort and make more headway on projects being done there. This will be our last Thursday Bible study before we head home so it will be hard to say goodbyes!

It seems that the enemy is often trying to deter our plans here, be it with bad weather, vehicle problems, or technology not cooperating, but we are not losing heart and we love seeing God come through for us. Plus we have the bonus of knowing that He has already won the fight! Please pray that we continue to trust Him and learn the lessons that He is trying to teach us.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What is this, a movie for dogs?

We had two big events today. This morning the team got up bright and early to send half the group off to visit Southern Bethany school. Their weekly Bible class is generally Friday mornings but they moved it up this week to Wednesday and we got the opportunity to do it. When we showed up we were told that we would have grades 4-6. We got set up and then found that we were actually going to have grades 1-6. Great!

We started with a worship song which the kids were really into. After one song more kids started showing up. Looks like we have grades 1-11, that's the whole school! We did a couple more songs, introduced ourselves, and then showed a Cebuano video of Jesus teaching the Parable of the Sower and the Good Samaritan. After that we read them, acted them out and taught briefly on each of them. We ended with a memory verse of James 1:22.

A couple of WOTS writers from Cebu met us after we finished up and rode up to Shofar with us to spend the rest of the day and the night up at Shofar.

This evening we went out to Loay to make popcorn and show a Movie. We showed the same kids Jesus movie that we showed previously. When the time came to start the movie the only attendees were two dogs who were wrestling and chasing bugs. We started the movie for the dogs with the hope that once we started people would come. They did. About 30 seconds after we started people showed up. By the end of the movie we had 40 people watching most of whom had been there for a while.

We had an amazing walk back from Loay in the starry dark to finish the day.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Church and Birthdays Do Go Hand In Hand

After Saturday, we got to head to church down in Toledo. It was a full day, don’t get me wrong.  We split the team among three different churches, two groups stayed right in Toledo to go to church.  Jason got to share with the church he went to about who Shofar Mission Center is and what types of ministries that we help with. 

The last was a group that went a little further to Sagay Fellowship in Sagay.  This gave an opportunity for Claire and Cory to give their testimonies, and Nate had chance to preach.  This was a church where Jim Young and his brother Bill have been working at.

All were blessed by the fellowships that we attended.  To see that churches here in the Philippines are very similar to churches in the States is encouraging.  The biggest similarity is that they also need prayer.  They have requests for revival, growth and health of their churches; some are outgrowing their meeting spaces and are looking for new places to meet.  Still, there are requests for physical health of the people who do Gods work.  To me, it can be overwhelming, thank God we know someone who knows how to handle these things!

So, a quick story.  We have been building a relationship with our caretaker’s son who was able to go to Shofar Camp this year.  The last three Sundays we have been taking him to church.  Some of us found out that he has a birthday on Tuesday.  So we took the opportunity to surprise him with a birthday dinner and some cake, with more cake to come in the future.  He was, for the moment, a part of our family, and we were blessed by his response.  All in all, a good day.
Thanks for praying for us! keep it up!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Fill us with joy, love, and oatmeal"

Saturday morning at Shofar started early with inevitable roosters crows and a whole lot of oatmeal. After morning devotions, Nate, Cory, Josh, and Sara hopped in the multicab and headed over to Toledo. They had the opportunity of working with a weekly youth AWANA outreach and feeding ministry. The rest of the team held down the fort at Shofar, painting, cleaning, and preparing for the upcoming week. The morning started out hot and sunny (a seemingly perfect day for laundry), but the tropical depression put a damper on the afternoon and brought heavy rain. We reunited in the evening to talk through how the day went and what's on the docket for the week. There are a lot of ministry opportunities coming up and it has been a whirlwind watching God orchestrate all of it. We are all being reminded that He is ultimately in control and all we can do is be available.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Shofar Games

Today was an amazing day here at Shofar. We had a chance to put on something like the Olympic games up here. The students took to the idea immediately and after having been split into four groups were given the task of choosing which country they would like to be. The countries chosen were: Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Oakland California. We all agreed that the Oakland California team had the best cheer, it was the cheer for the Warriors basketball team. All of the groups were able to create a flag that they could use in an opening ceremony as well as take with them throughout the games. Our team also had a great time manning the 6 games that the students got to play. Each game was tied with a biblical theme and lesson and it was such a blessing for us to be a part of an epic day like this and being able to teach the students about Jesus. 

There was a small group that visited a college in Cebu City and were able to engage those students in a discussion about Word On The Street magazine. They were also able to talk about what devotions look like for them and for the team to the same group which was a huge blessing to have the opportunity to share. 

We thank you all for your continued prayer as we continue our mission trip over here in the Philippines!

Maayong gabii,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ako Si Basketball

The team spent much of the day making ministry contacts for the remainder of the trip. Since we have only two weeks left, we are trying to plan well in order to get effective ministry done. It’s a process of discovery where communication and planning come together with prayer and discernment to give us vision. Our time here is going fast, but we are looking forward to what God still has for us.
Today after school most of the team went down to Cabambanan (right down the road from Shofar) to play with the kids at the basketball court. The team played by themselves for a while, and all the local boys stood on the sidelines watching until the girls from the team left the court. As soon as they did, everything changed, it was game on. As usual, even though we were the tallest, we were the worst players on the court!
Part of the team went further into Cabambanan and happened to meet some friends and former students from years past. It was good to hear how past team members came up in conversation from as long as 9 years ago. It shows that you never know how long the influence you are making will last, and a good remainder to always seek the Masters leading - he can see much farther ahead than we can.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Smile, say cheese!

Actually it was, "Say ngisi (NEE-see)!" rather than, "Say cheese!" that could be heard echoing through the hall today because it was picture day at Shofar Learning.  The students all looked so sharp in their school uniforms, and they have some of the biggest, most beautiful smiles around!

In addition to picture day, a few team members also taught ALT classes today - one on playing recorders and the other was a Bible class called "Eternity."  The students really seem to like ALT time because it's an opportunity for them to choose classes that interest them.

Please pray for our team as we are making contacts with various ministries and churches to see what God has in store for us for the remainder of our trip.  We are thankful for the opportunity to be here and are very aware of the fact that we wouldn't be able to do it without all the love, support, and prayers from our friends and family back home!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Update

Monday in the Philippines finds our team of intrepid adventurers split between Cebu and Shofar.

Up at Shofar last week, members of the American team taught the new morning Bible class at Shofar. The kids seem to like it, particularly when actions and games are involved. Today Marnie was the first teacher to do the Bible class and the teachers will be taking over the class from here out. She did great and it looks like the class is going to be an excellent addition to the Shofar curriculum. During the morning alt classes the team did 4 classes. Jonah taught on the prodigal son, Claire did a class on video production, Sara did a class on engineering, and Nate ran the ropes course while showing the teachers how to run it.

From here out we are beginning to transition alt classes over to the teachers. This week we'll be doing two and they will be doing two each day. By next week they'll be running them all.

Nate and Sara went down to pick up the Cebu group after lunch. Reunited, the team finished out the day with home made Tocino Pork. Keep your eyes open for an exciting Friday update after olympic day!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Today we had the opportunity to split up and attend 4 different churches.  We were able to attend some that are near Shofar and some in Cebu City. It was a blessing to meet new people and worship God with some of our friends here. Some of the group got the opportunity to have lunch at one of the churches that a Shofar teacher attends.

There was also a Word On The Street Magazine meeting (WOTS) this evening. We had a great time brainstorming ideas for the next publication and fellowshipping.

Thanks for everyone's prayers and support!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Popcorn & Friends

Today was awesome. We got to hang out around Shofar and get stuff done while spending time together as we took a deep breath after a very busy first week school. And then, as an added bonus we went down the hill to our neighbors in Camp 7 to show a movie and pop corn. The best part was a few of our Shofar students were there and a ton of their friends and a couple parents. We got to hang out with them and laugh and get to know one another that much better. God is so good, what a neat night!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Shawn the Sheep

  Shawn came and visited us for a lesson today up at Shofar Learning Center.  He sure likes to munch on the plants around here. And for sheep of his stature, he can really eat a lot.  Really, though. He was busy getting lost. And he couldn't figure out his way back home.  That waaas until the shepherd found him. 

Wow, what a great first week at school.  It has been fun.  But it has been a challenge too.  What I mean is for us to be doing over here what we have been doing, it couldn't be possible without Jesus.

We take into consideration the plans that we as a team have, everyday, but really it is Him.  One nice thing about being a team is hearing all of the stories that people on the team had throughout the day.  For instance, today we worked on projects around Shofar, got to help in the school, and we even got to teach a couple lessons.  I know of one lesson that a lot of kids liked.  It just happened to be a basic lesson about electricity and circuits.   It is really neat to see the kids getting all they can out of lessons like that.  Around the same time that the electricity lesson was being taught by Cory, our friend Shawn the Sheep just happened to be found.  Claire also had a great time with the kids,  and so did the kids.  The instructions for making a Shawn of your own are being held by Claire right now.  All I can say is "tissue paper" and "cloths pins".  I think, if you email her, she might be able to hook you up.  

Sometimes, its the simple things God reminds us of; Can we do this without Him, or our Church?  Nope, Not at all.  God is doing a great work in us and through us.  I am always reminded of that here in the Philippines.  Thanks for your support and prayers! and don't stop either!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Today was the first day that we implemented ALT classes (Applied Learning Time) at school. This is a time for the students to sign up for individual classes that they would like to take and get away from their desks for a little while. Some of the classes that they can choose from are basics of electricity, engineering, music lessons, science labs, art classes, games, sports, Bible classes, and more. Everyone on the team has prepared a few lessons and we are all excited to teach the kids over the next couple weeks! We even welcomed a new student named Cory today...he's taller than most kids, but he's making friends quickly :)
In the evening, Jonah, Jess, and Brittany went to Cebu for the weekly bible study in IT Park. We welcomed a few friends that we met at Pathway Community Church this past Sunday and bonded over BFF french fries at McDo. It's awesome to see what God is doing in everyone's lives and how He is connecting people from various churches in Cebu.

// team 2

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dance Dance Revolution?

Hello from Shofar! Today It was day two for the students and we could tell that they were all starting to get settled in and more comfortable. It also helped that we got the children moving with some fun songs from Nate childhood and others we found. The choreography was the best part! We really enjoy being able to be a part of the school here and look forward to how the school will grow and change even in the time that we will be here.  We thank you for and ask for your continued prayers for Shofar and for the team!

-Team 2

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Back to School, Back to School...

Dear Everybody,

Hey from the other side of the world! It was a good day on the mountain today...first day of school at Shofar. We got to help the kiddos with their coursework today and were amazed at how grown-up all the returning students looked. It made us really proud of them and it was a huge blessing to think of how much each of them has changed over their years here. It was also awesome to see the new students making friends and getting into the swing of things. We have big dreams for all of them and can't wait to see what God will do in their lives. It was also a pretty sweet blessing to get to know each of the teachers better too. Thanks for all the prayers! Please keep 'em coming...its good to know that you guys have our backs. We miss you all very much!

Grace & peace--
-Team 2 

Monday, June 13, 2016

School Begins on the Mountain Top

Today was a full day. It was the first day of school here in the Philippines and we used it as an orientation day for just our *new* students. This gave them all a chance to get to know the teachers and find there way around the school. Josh did a computer orientation class, since some of the children do not even understand the basics of computers. Sara worked with all of the teachers to teach them about the new Bible Study. This will be a component of the school every day, since we are making a very strong effort to put Jesus first in the lives of these children. Everyone spent time with the students as they begin to dig into their first lessons of the school year. There was a lot of opportunity for one-on-one interaction, which was fun for us to learn about the students.
In addition to the events of the school, there was a lot more happening: Planning out our next few weeks, beginning projects at Shofar, picking up one of the vehicles from the repair shop, cleaning up the grouds, and preparing the classrooms for the other students.
We found it especially important to keep the events of the day in prayer as it's clear that the enemy is attempting to disrupt us in varying ways. Our goal is to continue to trust God and follow through with what he shows us, even if we can't see exactly what he wants!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Home Away from Home

Today half of the team began our day by heading to Toledo where we had the privilege of attending Toledo Frontier Community Church. It is neat that even though we are far away from home, we have family here because we worship the same God!  We were welcomed warmly, and had fun hanging out with people after church just like we do back home!  After church we stopped for groceries and supplies, then drove back up to Shofar where we tackled a few more projects.  The rest of the team arrived back at Shofar just in time for dinner.  It's nice to be reunited again!  Each day brings a new set of challenges and adventures for us, but nothing is impossible with God!  Thank you for praying for us!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Passing In The Night

Team one has gone home and team two has safely arrived. We quite literally passed in the night separated only by a wall of glass in the airport. Team two's plane landed a bit after midnight a day or two ago (who can keep track of actual days when jet lag is upon you) and while disembarking we saw team one on the other side of the glass waiting to get onto the plane we'd just gotten off of. We hear they've made it home now.

After trying unsuccessfully to sleep in a bit and then running a few errands in Cebu we made it up to Shofar on Friday afternoon. Early Saturday morning there was a storm and a few bouts of severe rain, maybe some wind, but whatever the cause the power went out during the night. It's not an uncommon occurence, but this particular one seemed to effect only Shofar, which is a bit less common. As half the team getting ready to go back down to Cebu to take a vehicle in for repairs, do some business, and get ready to attend church down in the city on Sunday, the other half was up at Shofar doing projects and waiting for the power company to come fix things up. All through the year of training before the trip we've been told to plan for the unexpected -- I guess you could say things are going according to plan. The power company made a few wrong turns in trying to find Shofar but eventually found us and got the power back on. Yes!

Tomorrow morning the team will be at two different churches. One in Cebu one in Toledo but we should all be back together again by Sunday night to get ready for the start of the school year on Monday morning.

Thanks for your prayers.
Team 2

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Mermaids Need Jesus Too

Hi everyone,
Yesterday we were in Balamban. We did an outreach for the cable TV station for Shofar, we have a variety of different programs that we play on there like sermons (from people like Francis Chan, Tim, & a pastor here in the Philippines), movies, & kids programming. We handed out fliers & gave away popcorn. It was fun to meet people & tell them about the station. We are really going to miss it here, but we are all very excited to come home & see all of you.

Thank you for your prayers & don't forget to continue to pray for team 2!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Noah learning how to sweep the floor

Hey guys!

Today we did some cleaning around Shofar, like teaching Noah how to use a broom, (he specifically picked out the pink one). We all did a load of laundry today as well so the lines were pretty full! We also did some prep work for our upcoming outreaches.

Please continue to pray that we can finish well here!

God Bless!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Church in San Carlos

Hey!! Today we went to Calvary Chapel, San Carlos. Courtney gave her testimony and a few of us got to teach the kids church, while Tom was at the pulpit. The Pastors name is Jun Jun and he is a very nice guy and glad to have him as a brother in the Lord.

After church we got on the ferry back to Cebu Island and were all back together at Shofar.

Thanks for all your prayers!! Love you guys!!

Friday, June 03, 2016

The Adventure Continues

We will be doing some traveling some of the group is in San Carlos. We spent the day trekking around a little under the sun. Its just a little hot here :D but we see it as a blessing and a great opportunity. We will be getting to see some churches here and help out with a youth group tomorrow evening. We were able to paint the second level of Shofar and the upper porch is now bittersweet. Here is Justin and our new dog Two-tone! she is a real sweet heart and loves rice.

Cant wait to see all of what tomorrow will hold for the team we are all together so please help us pray for safety and God to show us the open doors and direct us around the closed.

Love You

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Thursday Night B.S.

Hi everyone! A few of us were able to go to Cebu and join the WOTS writers with their weekly Thursday night bible study. Jess led the discussion as we began going through the book of Galatians. It has been neat to get to know the people who attend each week and what God is doing in their lives here in the Philippines. There were ten of us there, all from various churches around Cebu.

Typical trip in the back of the Hyundai.